The “San Antonio 4” were accused of sexually abusing two young girls in 1994. All four women were convicted and sentenced to prison. Following years of appeals and petitions to the court, prosecutors have agreed that key testimony against the women was discredited. The women are expected to be released on bond.
In 1994, the two young girls were visiting their aunt Elizabeth Ramirez. Upon returning home, the 7 and 9-year-old girls said they were restrained and sexually abused by Ramirez and her three friends.
In addition to the girls’ testimony, an expert testified that the 9-year-old’s hymen was torn and scarred. Dr. Nancy Kellogg testified that the injury happened around the time of the alleged attack and was caused by forcible penetration.
Ramirez was sentenced to 37 years in prison. Anna Vasques, Cassandra Rivera, and Kristie Mayhugh, were each sentenced to 15 years. The women became known as the San Antonio four.
As reported by ABC News, both girls have recanted their accusations. One of the girls, who was 7 at the time, said she wants the women to known she is “sorry for ruining them.”
In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics found that “torn or injured hymens do not leave scars as a matter of scientific fact.” Bexar County prosecutor, Rico Valdez, said the academy’s findings discredit Kellogg’s testimony.
Valdez recommended that the women’s convictions be vacated. He expects the judge to release them on bond pending formal appeal. The prosecutor said his office will not seek additional charges against the four women.
Defense attorney Mike Ware said it will be a “huge day” for his clients. In is opinion, the women were convicted using unreliable “junk science.”
According to FourLivesLost.com, all four women were caught up in the “daycare and satanic-abuse hysteria” of the 1980s and 1990s. During their trial, an expert testified that the girls’ stories were consistent with “satanic-related sexual abuse.”
The women’s sexual orientation was also criticized throughout the trial. Prosecutors suggested the four women sexually abused the girls because they were lesbians.
Despite the devastating convictions and years in prison, the San Antonio four will soon be free. However, prosecutors have denied a request to have the women formally declared innocent. An official declaration would allow the women to pursue charges of wrongful imprisonment.
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