The nearly twenty year nightmare of the San Antonio Four, four women convicted in 1997 of sexually molesting two young girls, a crime they almost certainly did not commit, will begin to come to an end today, as a Bexar County Judge is expected to allow the release of three of the four on bond, 1200 WOAI news reports.
The fourth woman has been free on parole for a year, but under onerous restrictions.
State District Judge Mary Roman will consider the case today, and since District Attorney Susan Reed says she will not oppose bond, bond is likely to be granted.
The four have been in prison since they're conviction for the molestation of two young girls, the seven and nine year old nieces of one of the defendants, in her home back in 2004.
One of the girls has since 'completely recanted' her claims, and the other has told prosecutors that she will not testify again if the four women are retried, and Reed says if the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals orders a new trial, she will not retry the case.
Defense attorney Mike Ware, who is with the Innocence Project of Texas, says the four women were caught up in a web of very emotional trends which affected criminal justice in the mid nineties. One of them, he says, was a mistaken belief that gays were more prone to sexually abuse children.
"Had these four young women at the time, none of whom had any criminal history at all, had they not recently come out as gay, probably this investigation never would have gone anywhere, nor would it have been taken seriously," Ware said.
The four also had the misfortune to be charged at a time when fear of crime had reached a fever pitch in Texas, sparked by violent street gang wars. San Antonio experienced more than 230 homicides in 1993, compared to fewer than 90 in 2012, in a city with 300,000 more residents than in the mid nineties. There was also a heightened sensitivity about sexual abuse of children.
There was also a bizarre belief at the time that groups of adults were abusing children as part of 'satanic rituals,' something which has never proven to have been the case. The most serious manifestation of the 'satanic sex abuse' scare was the McMartin Preschool Case in California, where a family that operated a pre school was accused, but not convicted, of engaging in 'ritual sexual abuse' of children.
Ware applauded Reed's decision not to retry the case, but he says he wants the four to be completely exonerated.
"Have them found to be innocent, and to restore their good names," he said.