A Special Evening With the San Antonio Four

[Note: Friends of Justice is a personal blog. I speak only for myself.]

The National Center for Reason and Justice (NCRJ)

Invites you to a special evening with the “SAN ANTONIO 4”

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 7:30 PM

Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St., NYC


The “San Antonio 4” are four Latina lesbians who collectively spent more than 50 years in Texas prisons after being falsely accused and wrongfully convicted of child sex abuse in an infamous case rife with hysteria, homophobia and panic about child molestation. Anna Vasquez, Elizabeth Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh and Cassandra Rivera are coming to NYC for the first time, to speak about their prosecution and imprisonment at this special April 13th event and to appear at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of a documentary about their case, Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio 4, directed by Deborah S. Esquenazi.

Join us to hear the women talk about being wrongfully accused of the worst crime imaginable to the public–and about how their conviction for this bizarre, imagined crime was assured after prosecutors learned that they lived openly as lesbians in San Antonio, a stronghold of homophobia in the early 1990s. Recently released and now fighting a legal battle to clear their names, three of the women (Anna, Elizabeth and Cassandra) will appear with journalist Debbie Nathan, the NCRJ board member, who first reviewed their case and brought it to the attention of concerned activists and lawyers, ultimately securing support from the Innocence Project of Texas and attorney Mike Ware who won their release and is waging the legal fight for their innocence.

Also appearing will be Kelly Michaels, a New Jersey woman who was falsely accused of “ritual” daycare sex abuse in the 1980s after police discovered she was living in a lesbian relationship. She was sentenced to 47 years and spent five years in prison before being freed due to the efforts of lawyers and feminists.

The San Antonio 4 are now fighting for exoneration and compensation for the decades they lost in prison. They and Kelly Michaels will discuss what it was like to have the world view them as monsters. Debbie Nathan will tell how she learned of the plight of all the women, first in the 1980s and again twenty years later. San Antonio 4 attorney Mike Ware will talk about the next steps in the Texas women’s legal fight.

The event will also be an opportunity to learn more about the work of the NCRJ, including another ongoing case involving the “Yankton 4”, Native Americans falsely accused and wrongfully convicted in similar circumstances, as well as an update about Jesse Friedman (subject of Capturing the Friedmans), and his ongoing appeal.

NCRJ supporters and donors are welcome to attend this event; the first 10 people who donate $150 or more will receive 2 complimentary tickets to a screening on April 15 or April 17 of Southwest of Salem at the Tribeca film festival — please email NCRJ board member Emily Horowitz ebhorowitz@gmail.com if you plan to attend the event or if you would like tickets to the film with your $150+ donation. Donate online: http://ncrj.org/donate.