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Three Lesbians Released After Spending 14 Years in Jail on Wrongful Molestation Conviction: VIDEO


Three lesbians who were among four wrongfully convicted of molestation in 1998 were released today after spending nearly 15 years in prison, the HuffPost reports:

In 1994, Elizabeth Ramirez, then 20, was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, for allegedly molesting her two young nieces, aged 7 and 9.

In two bizarre trials, she and three other women, Cassandra Rivera, Kristie Mayhugh and Anna Vasquez, all lesbians, were accused of repeatedly assaulting the girls during a nightmarish week-long orgy in 1994. A medical expert and the prosecutor hinted that the women had been performing a Satanic ritual, and pointed to what they claimed was scientific evidence of their guilt. A judge sent the women to prison -- 35 years for Ramirez, 15 for each of the others.

For more than a decade, the women sought the attention of advocates for prisoners and of the press, insisting that they had been falsely accused, but their calls for help went unanswered. And then, in 2006, a Canadian college instructor named Darrell Otto began researching the case. Otto became convinced that the women were innocent and reached out to the National Center for Reason and Justice, a New York-based organization that pushes for the release of those believed to be wrongly accused of crimes against children. He set in motion an effort to free the women that has finally culminated in victory.

KENS5 adds:

The women have claimed their innocence since the conviction and have worked to clear their names.  They were convicted based upon expert medical testimony that prosecutors and the women's attorney now agree wouldn't stand in court today. Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera have sat in prison for almost 15 years.

Anna Vasquez, one of "The San Antonio 4" who spent 13 years in jail and was paroled in 2012 sat down with KENS 5 for an interview.

"We were charged and convicted and I was still in doubt," said Vasquez, 37.  I could not believe that this has happened." The four were only teens when they went to jail.  

"It's a huge injustice to us we had many years taken away from us," said Vasquez.  "I was angry I would say I was in shock, disbelief," she said.

Watch a video of their release, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I hope they sue the asses off the state and get millions to help put their lives back together.

    Posted by: dumbnhung | Nov 19, 2013 7:38:09 PM

  2. ... and not just sue the state but the so called "medical experts". It may go well beyond malpractice - that "satanic" stuff sounds like a figment of someone's bigoted imagination.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 19, 2013 7:50:03 PM

  3. Could we have more details on how this happened? Did the experts manufacture evidence? Did the state knowingly offer perjured testimony? What's the background on this story.

    This is a horrible travesty and these women should be compensated but if someone knowingly convicted them of a crime they knew the women did not commit, the state should pay with money and the prosecutor, experts and the "victims," (if they made this up) should be given 2 years in jail for every 1 year these women spent wrongfully imprisoned.

    Posted by: BigBlackMariah | Nov 19, 2013 7:59:49 PM

  4. And the 17 and 19 year old nieces today?

    Posted by: Tiger | Nov 19, 2013 8:14:34 PM

  5. That so-called "expert" testified in hundreds of trials and there is at least one other of case where a "victim" later recanted. She probably ruined many other lives too.

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 19, 2013 8:35:14 PM

  6. @BigBlackMariah
    Ritual satanic abuse was a huge thing that swept the US in the 80s to mid 90s. There are many, many such cases with false accusations. Young children often simply say what they think adults will want to hear.

    Then there is the fact that these are all lesbians. In the 90s and in Texas today still, that means people would automatically assume that they are child molesters.

    Posted by: Steve | Nov 19, 2013 8:37:25 PM

  7. Luckily Texas has a "wrongful incarceration" statute.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Nov 19, 2013 9:20:02 PM

  8. I do not fault the children,, as it has been proven that it is very easy for a therapist to plant false memories into another person. This is why these cases fell apart. This one must have fallen through the cracks. It's terrible, because the children actually have the false memory they were basically encouraged to internalize.

    Posted by: stevetalbert | Nov 19, 2013 9:20:50 PM

  9. Read my book coming out this January, titled: "If he's Queer, he musta done it." It is the true story of Michael Batey, convicted of a sex crime that he did not do. He spent 15 years in prison for it where he was raped and abused. The book documents the corrupt court and prison system. The book is being published by Fountain Publishing and they are trying to get me on television over this book. It is SICKENING what this gay man went through.

    Posted by: John Simpson | Nov 19, 2013 9:55:57 PM

  10. Texas. Women. Lesbians. Why am I not surprised?

    Posted by: Keppler | Nov 19, 2013 10:21:00 PM

  11. It is a good thing they were not sentenced to death. It would not be the first time Texas executed an innocent person and I would be willing to bet that it will not be the last.

    Posted by: *****overTX | Nov 19, 2013 10:37:31 PM

  12. It's maddening that there isn't additional information anywhere. All the news outlets covering it have the same vague information. Hopefully we get the entire story about how they overturned it, why the children corroborated and where all parties involved are now. I am glad they got out and I hope they get fully cleared

    Posted by: cdubois | Nov 19, 2013 11:22:18 PM

  13. Texas is the state that executed a guy for burning down his house and killing his daughters. This was based on an "expert" fire inspector's unscientific and completely wrong testimony and the guy's heavy metal posters - Satanism again.

    A documentary on PBS a few years ago told the story of a couple with a day care center in the South of course where little kids were testifying about all kinds of completely impossible crimes that made no sense, which did not impune their testimony at all. Kids who believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Besides leading the children on with their testimony, there was a feedback loop reinforcing and amplifying it. (I don't remember how that worked.) Again, fundie type Christians willing to believe Satan was at work.

    The ignorance of people - particulary Southern fundie types - is appalling. It's exactly like the Salem witch trials.

    Posted by: emjayay | Nov 19, 2013 11:47:17 PM

  14. Stop using the de-humanizing term 'lesbians' to describe these women.

    Posted by: ASam | Nov 20, 2013 12:10:53 AM

  15. This episode shows the dangers of junk science. If experts were required to demonstrate the validity of their science before being allowed to testify, this would happen a lot less often.

    It reminds me of the phenomenon of "facilitated communication" which also resulted in ruining lives with accusations of sexual abuse in the 1990s. Non-communicative children were "facilitated" in recounting tales of abuse by having the facilitator guide their hands on a device similar to Ouija board. Of course, the stories were entirely the product of the imagination of the facilitator. The amazing thing is that no one bothered to test the technique until after lives were ruined by the accusations. All they had to do to debunk the technique is to show a picture of an object to the child but not the facilitator, and watch it fail.

    Posted by: Merv | Nov 20, 2013 2:05:05 AM

  16. No words.

    Posted by: Rowan | Nov 20, 2013 3:55:58 AM

  17. Perhaps we will never know the full truth, but lesbians have been known to dabble in the Dark Arts.

    Posted by: LITTLE KIWI | Nov 20, 2013 4:17:26 AM

  18. The previous comment is a phony. I believe that the actual number of satanic followers in the queer communities is unknown.

    Posted by: LITTLE KIWI | Nov 20, 2013 4:37:03 AM

  19. This is why I have nothing to do with children, ever. I don't talk to them, I never allow any in my house. Passing out candy to the neighborhood kids on Halloween is the most contact I have and in that case, their parents are standing a few feet away, so it's ok. Otherwise, I totally avoid children whenever possible. I hope these women can rebuild their lives. They can never get back what was stolen from them.

    Posted by: RWG | Nov 20, 2013 9:06:39 AM

  20. Just remember this the next time you hear some "advocate" who is basically making the argument that accusers should always be believed and the accused presumed guilty. Every day in this country, behind "not revictimizing the victim" we allow our legal protections for the defendant to be abridged. Our founding fathers were very much aware that the protections they put in place would result in some guilty people going free and they considered it the cost of true justice. Now, even intelligent and well meaning people keep calling for the erosion of legal protections for the accused, not to mention the innocent, in the name of justice. Justice is when a guilt man is convicted and punished. Justice is also when the defendant goes free because he is presumed innocent and the state has failed to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I don't believe in God, but I can't help but wonder if the cultural shift away from a God belief isn't partly to blame for some of our problems. If one believes in God, or even in a great and just oneness of the cosmos, then one can acquit a defendant in the knowledge that if he is guilty greater forces will take him down. We want to put all of our faith and belief in the mechanics of government.

    Posted by: Endorado | Nov 20, 2013 12:22:54 PM

  21. @Keppler
    You neglected to mention another important aspect of identity that's relevant in this case: Latinas.

    Posted by: Pablito210 | Nov 20, 2013 3:19:21 PM

  22. i want a lesbo

    Posted by: alvin | Nov 21, 2013 8:50:31 AM

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