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After 30 years, a father is exonerated in ‘satanic panic’ case

After 30 years, a father is exonerated in ‘satanic panic’ case

2023-04-11 18:09:41

With just a few strokes of a pen, Choose Christine Del Prado dismissed the case towards 74-year-old Melvin Quinney — giving him his good identify again.

“Mr. Quinney I’ve signed the dismissal,” mentioned Del Prado “And I thanks sir to your attendance. You at the moment are discharged from this courtroom.”

Applause broke out from onlookers in the identical courtroom that 32 years in the past had convicted Quinney of indecency with a toddler and sentenced him to twenty years.

This was the ultimate courtroom step in Quinneys exoneration — a painful journey that noticed him spend eight years in Texas prisons, pressured him to register as a intercourse offender and noticed his 4 kids pushed into the foster care system.

Now that very same courtroom and his household say that abuse by no means came about.

It was all based mostly on a lie — stemming from a “ethical satanic panic” that swept the nation, mentioned Innocence Mission of Texas director Mike Ware.

“It is a good day for justice,” mentioned Ware, standing subsequent to Quinney in entrance of the Bexar County Courthouse.

Within the Nineteen Eighties and 90s, a mass hysteria swept throughout Texas and the nation across the satanic ritual abuse of kids.

In accordance with a 1992 FBI report, lots of of victims alleged hundreds of offenders had killed tens of hundreds of individuals as half of what’s now known as the “satanic panic.” Even in 1992, when the report was generated, they known as the allegations weird and unfounded.

However allegations continued with a number of individuals being falsely imprisoned. Notable exonerees embrace the so-called San Antonio 4 and the Kellers. Like different exonerees, Quinney must be entitled to compensation from the state. It isn’t instantly clear what the ultimate quantity might be however it is going to stretch into the lots of of hundreds of {dollars} or extra.

Up to date 7:45 p.m.4 San Antonio girls, who had been falsely accused of sexually assaulting two younger women in 1994, have had their convictions expunged by a…

Quinney is simply the newest instance of how Texas continues to be grappling with the aftermath of the false panic.

Quinney’s now deceased ex-wife Debra together with therapists pressured his nine-year-old son John Parker (Quinney) to testify that his father molested him — that he was in a satanic cult and that he had seen kids murdered.

In courtroom paperwork, Parker mentioned initially his sister Sara was the main focus of his moms molestation claims, nevertheless it shifted to him. He resisted testifying at first, saying he had no reminiscence of the abuse. However therapists specializing within the now debunked satanic ritual abuse theories used what present legislation enforcement officers name “outdated and inappropriate” interview strategies.

“Youngsters had been being coerced by unwell guided professionals, to make these outrageous, demonstrably false accusations which have now been confirmed false past all doubt,” mentioned Ware.

Parker started to imagine he was a part of a satanic cult that his father was in and had been abused.

“Every time I had any doubts that one thing occurred, I used to be informed by the therapist that this was as a result of I had a number of personalities, that my dad had programmed me this fashion,” Parker mentioned the courtroom document of his recantation.

Melvin Quinney served eight years of his 20-year sentence earlier than being paroled and compelled to register as a intercourse offender.

Parker realized after his mom handed in 1999 that one thing had gone terribly fallacious. He recanted his testimony as an grownup, and labored to clear his fathers identify. Regardless of spending years combating to clear his father’s identify alongside together with his three siblings, Parker bodily cringed — his eyes moist with tears— when an lawyer with the Bexar County District Lawyer’s workplace known as him a hero at Monday’s press convention.

John Parker (quinney)

Paul Flahive | Texas Public Radio


John Parker

“I’m nonetheless holding on to loads of guilt over what occurred and somewhat little bit of disgrace that I did not understand sooner what had occurred to us,” he mentioned.

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As a toddler, Parker had been known as a “little hero” for testifying towards his father. He says he battles with guilt at the moment — however has forgiven his now deceased mom.

He mentioned she was clearly mentally unwell.

“As an alternative of getting assist with the actual psychological issues she was experiencing, she was persuaded and saved mentally unwell with pseudoscience and superstition,” mentioned Parker.

The Texas Courtroom of Prison Appeals discovered Quinney harmless in February and remanded the case again to the 227th district courtroom in Bexar County, the place he was first convicted in 1991.

Bexar County District Lawyer Joe Gonzaes, standing in entrance of the county courthouse Monday, credited the exoneration to The Innocence Mission of Texas alongside together with his conviction integrity unit.

He mentioned his attorneys swear an oath to do the proper factor — one thing they received to do by recommending dismissal.

“That definitely is the case at the moment, as a result of at the moment we have now had the chance to proper a fallacious,” Gonzales mentioned.

Melvin Quinney mentioned ‘sure’ he was wrongfully accused and convicted however the impression on his household goes nicely past him. His ex-wife was unable to take care of the kids not lengthy after he was imprisoned and so they had been pushed into the state’s foster care system. For years, the kids thought they’d be focused by satanic cult members.

“I used to be a sufferer, so what? My kids, they had been the actual victims,’ Quinney mentioned. “My 4 kids had been the actual victims on this entire fiasco we went via.”

After 30 years, he says he hopes at the moment’s ruling helps the household proceed to heal.

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