The San Antonio Four

Texas women convicted in ’80s sex abuse trial say homophobia played part in “witch hunt”

(Southwest of Salem/Facebook)

In the 1980s, four Texas women were accused and convicted of child sex abuse in a sensationalist trial that conjured satanic rituals and referred to one of the alleged victims as a “sacrificial lamb” and an “angel.” Now, those women are telling their stories about the trial, and what they see as the homophobia that drove it, in a documentary premiering this week at the Tribeca Film Festival called Southwest of Salem. The women have been freed from prison after the Innocence Project of Texas helped show that their convictions were based on junk science, but have not yet been declared innocent.

The "San Antonio Four." (Facebook)

The “San Antonio Four.” (Facebook)

The case of the San Antonio Four, as the women were dubbed in the press, was one of many trials in the 1980s across the country that alluded to ritualistic behavior, including another case in New Jersey in which a young woman was identified as a lesbian and accused of abusing 20 children at a daycare. She was jailed for five years and then freed, according to The Guardian. Debbie Nathan, a journalist who has chronicled some of the cases, said that the trials nearly all revolved around “obsessive conversations about whether this person is gay.”

“Southwest of Salem” premiered on Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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