'San Antonio Four' all freed from prison

Nov. 19, 2013 at 1:55 AM
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SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 19 (UPI) -- Three women convicted of sexually abusing young girls were cheered by family and supporters when they were freed Monday in San Antonio.

Elizabeth Ramirez, 39, Cassandra Rivera, 38, and Kristie Mayhugh, 40, and a fourth woman, Anna Vasquez, 38, who was paroled last year, became known as the "San Antonio Four" during more than a decade of imprisonment. Prosecutors, who now say medical testimony in the case was flawed, agreed to their release while the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reviews the case, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

For Vasquez, Monday's decision was also a release, the newspaper said, because she no longer faces the restrictions imposed on paroled sex offenders.

More than 15 years ago, two of Ramirez's nieces said they had been molested while staying with her. Ramirez was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to 37 1/2 years, while her three friends were given 15-year terms three years later.

One of the alleged victims has since told the news media she was not molested. Testimony from a doctor about supposed signs of sexual trauma on the girls' genitals has also been discredited with the doctor herself saying new research has shown she was wrong.

Under the agreement, the women will be able to live with no restrictions while legal proceedings continue. Ramirez was able to hug Aliana, her 2-year-old granddaughter, for the first time.

"I'm your grandma, I'm your grandma," she said, weeping.

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