The last three of the Texas women known as the “San Antonio 4” were released from prison on Monday, 15 years after being convicted of sexual assault based on “junk science” surrounding the behavior of gay women.
Reuters reported that Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Ramírez and Cassandra Rivera were released on bail. The fourth woman, Anna Vasquez, was released on parole last year.
The group was convicted in 1998 of committing successive assaults against two of Ramírez’s nieces, then 7 and 9 years old, in 1994. A witness for the prosecution, pediatrician Nancy Kellogg, testified that the two young girls’ injuries were used in satanic rituals prevalent among lesbians.
“It was a complete injustice to us,” Vasquez told Reuters. “At this point in my life, I am past angry. I’ve just learned to deal with it and move forward.”
The Associated Press reported that the group’s attorney, Mike Ware, helped engineer their release by citing a state law allowing defendants to appeal their sentences if they could prove prosecutors used “junk science” to build their cases. Also, KABB-TV reported that one of the women’s accusers recanted her story in 2012.
“In the beginning there was no hope but this day has finally arrived,” Herrera told the AP. “I pray that this doesn’t happen to anybody else.”
Watch KABB’s story on the release of the “San Antonio 4,” aired on Monday, below.