NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Perspective

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Many were shocked to learn in November that some accused "satanic cult" child molesters were still in prison — even though proven by time, journalism and medical knowledge to have been innocent victims of widespread '80s and '90s hysteria. Arrangements have finally been made to release Austin, Texas, day care operators Fran and Dan Keller (after 21 years) and four San Antonio women (imprisoned for 14 years for "assaulting" two adolescent girls). In both cases, juries and judges had been persuaded by testimony about scarring on girls' hymens; frightened by the era's high-profile McMartin School and other cases, they were issued long prison terms. The Austin case's doctor later admitted he'd misdiagnosed the scarring, and the San Antonio doctor's conclusions were vanquished by the Texas Innocence Project and a relentless Canadian researcher. All six said they intended to pursue full legal exoneration.

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