Four lesbians falsely imprisoned for decades accused of ‘satanic rituals’, tell their story (VIDEO)
Four lesbians who were jailed in the 1990s, accused of satanic rituals and child abuse, have told their story.
The women are the subjects of Deborah S Esquenazi’s film ‘Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four’.
The women were jailed aged 19 and 20, and were jailed for decades amid a period of hysteria, convicted on unsubstatial evidence based on “junk science”, which has since been disproven.
Elizabeth Ramirez, Anna Vazquez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera were all accused of gang-raping Ramirez’s nieces, aged seven and nine.
Ramirez, Mayhugh and Rivera were all jailed for decades before they were released, and Vazquez was paroled using a “junk science” law meaning appeals can be mounted if the basis of original accusations has been debunked.
The women were dubbed the San Antonio Four at the time.
“When we were being questioned by police, they made a point to put it out in there – that we were gay,” said Anna Vasquez.
They spoke at the Bluestockings bookshop in New York, alongside Kelly Michaels, who was also accused of “ritual” sex abuse at the time.
Ramirez said prosecutors in her case often made references to her sexual orientation, and according to court documents the women used “rituals” amid the false accusations of abuse.
Words also used in the court are “cult-type”, and “sacrificed on the altar of lust”.
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Despite the charges having been disproven, the Texas Court of Appeals is yet to declare the women innocent, which in turn would allow them to be able to claim compensation.
The film hopes to expose the hysteria of the time, and the moral panic which led to the imprisonment of the women until their release in 2013 and 2012.
LGBT people are still today accused of similar things. This guy ranted online about satanic rituals, and trans people using Target bathrooms fitting their gender identity, while his step-sister was chained up in his basement, made to use a bucket as a toilet.
Check out a video of the women below, with excerpts from the film: