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Deborah S. Esquenazi | 2016

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

Texas, 1994; 4 Latina lesbians are charged with sexual assault. 15 years later a key witness recants her damning testimony on film.

Tabloid news stories and headline grabbing criminal cases featuring satanic cult killings and ritual abuse hit a crescendo in the United States in the 1990s.  “The Satanic Panic” saw scores of false charges and sensationalized trials, a disproportionate number of which accused LGBTQ people.  The case of “The San Antonio Four” in Texas, 1994, four lesbian Latina women were charged with sexually assaulting two young girls.  Though prosecutors lacked key evidence, all four were found guilty.  Fifteen years later, filmmaker Deborah S. Esquenazi took up the case, and while researching the role homophobia and witch mythology played during the trial, she captures one of the accusers – now an adult – recanting her testimony.  The stunning admission could lead to the exoneration of the imprisoned felons in this riveting legal exposé.
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Following the film we will be hosting Witch Hunts Through History – Obeah Opera, Hell’s Fury, and Today , a panel discussion on Witch Hunts today and throughout history as part of our Illuminating Ideas series. 

Luminato’s 2019 film series is curated in partnership with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. This film has been programmed by Myrocia Watamaniuk, Senior International Programmer, Hot Docs Festival.
Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four image
Deborah S. Esquenazi | 2016

Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four

Texas, 1994; 4 Latina lesbians are charged with sexual assault. 15 years later a key witness recants her damning testimony on film.

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