Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Best Solution

Attempting to gain exoneration for these four wrongfully convicted women through the legal system is a daunting task to say the least. Post-conviction relief is time-consuming and expensive, and often there is great effort with no result. The system is designed to keep people in prison once they have been convicted, and does not like to acknowledge or deal with it's own shortcomings, even, as in recent years with the rash of convictions overturned by DNA evidence, when it is painfully obvious.

For Elizabeth and her co-defendants, and in fact for everyone involved in this case, the best solution would be for V.L. and S.L. to come forward with the truth and acknowledge in a signed affidavit that the assaults were a fabrication and never occurred. Since becoming legal adults both girls have admitted at different times, and to different family members that nothing happened at the apartment during their stay. But they will not go to the police or make those statements official. In a 2005 phone call to Dan Martinez, Anna Vasquez uncle, V.L.'s fiancee stated that he was aware of the situation and was looking out for V.L.'s best interests because she was "scared to death" they would come after her if she recanted her testimony. He would not elaborate exactly on who "they" were.

We can only speculate on exactly who the girls are so afraid of. For those involved in the case who know the characters of everyone involved, the most obvious guess is that "they" is the girl's father and grandmother. The most likely scenario is that the father, and possibly the grandmother as well, coached the girls into a story and told them to keep their mouth shut or there would be serious consequences. Remember that as small children the girls witnessed acts of violence by their father against their mother, including the time he came to Colorado to collect his daughters and with them watching, held a .22 calibre pistol to their mother's head and told her he would kill her if she ever came back to San Antonio.

One great irony is that the laws surrounding the reporting of child abuse have been constructed to encourage reporting and there are no criminal charges that can be laid for making false allegations. This was done so that those who "suspected" a child was being abused would not be reluctant to come forward with that information. Unfortunately what happened is that people who lacked ethics discovered they could make malicious false accusations of child abuse as a vendetta against a former spouse, family member or others, and do so with total impunity.
So the irony in this case is that whoever coached these girls into the story cannot suffer legal consequences for doing so.

There is also the possibility that V.L. and S.L. fear retaliation from the women who went to prison because of their testimony. That fear however is totally unfounded. While the convicted women are angry about what has happened, they also possess enough maturity to realize that the girls were children when they gave their testimony, that they were raised in an extremely dysfunctional home, and didn't recognize the consequences of what was happening.

A third possibility is that the children were coached by prosecutors or someone at the Children's Advocacy Center, although there is no direct evidence of that occurring at this time.

The one scenario that is entirely plausible but no one seems to have thought about is that the girls made the story up on their own. All the elements of what they claimed happened had been part of their experience growing up. They had previously been molested by a 10-year-old boy, and they had seen their father threaten their mother with a gun. These two girls had not led a sheltered life, and were very much street-wise and familiar with the things they testified about at the trials.

The best solution for everyone involved in this case is for one or both of the girls to come forward with the truth in a signed affidavit. What we need is someone who can facilitate that process - to talk with them and discover exactly who or what they are so afraid of that they will not come forward, and find a constructive way to alleviate those fears.

Enough people have been hurt by what has happened in this case, and the best solution is one consisting of recantation and reconciliation for everyone involved.

4 comments:

Julie said...

Yes, I was thinking about this last week; wondering why the girls haven't come forward with the truth now that they are adults. Could they not be protected in some way? There must be some sort of solution where they would be able to tell the truth, yet not put their lives into jeopardy. But fear is a powerful force.
I wonder if they would have kept a journal or diary of that time period that could be 'found' and brought forward.
Just thoughts that I'm sure has already been investigated anyway.

FOUR LIVES LOST said...

We can guess all day about what might or might not have happened.

The one possibility that hasn't been considered in any detail is that the allegations were spontaneous. The girl's grandmother caught them acting out sexually with their dolls. The first question the grandmother asked them was "did something happen to you at Aunt Liz' house". The girls may have made up a story completely from their life experiences. Remember they had been sexually abused two years before, so that may have been the impetus for them to act out. They then made up a story about Aunt Liz. They had also seen their father threaten their mother with a gun so that was within their realm of experience as well.

The fact that Liz and her friends are gay and the "victims" are female probably made the story that much easier for the grandmother and the authorities to accept. Only as adults have the girls realized the full repercussions of their "story" and they are now terrified of retaliation.

rosemary said...

The girls were not abused 2 year ago that was a lie. the girls will not tell the truth becouse javier and serafina told them if they wood talk they wood go to jail here is one example i had stephanie in june 16 of 2005 i got here back when she was 18 years old 2 weeks in to liveing with me. she told me that christina here auant housband rape here when here auant was at work.3 times first in colorado by a 10 year old then my sister then javier sister housband in colorado. the gand- mother at one time also made a call to cps on her douther chrstina to take here gandouther away from her. she said that her gandbaby was being abuse. they put a color in her perivet parts and a banana.if you get the report from cps when serafina did the allegations you will find almost the same thing .

FOUR LIVES LOST said...

Rosa,

The girls can't be charged with perjury because they were minors at the time they gave their testimony. We have already talked to a lawyer about that. So you can tell them that Javier and Serafina are lying to them, and there is nothing to worry about. If they want we can have them talk directly to a lawyer to assure them of that.

I am not completely sure about Texas but in most jurisdictions it is not illegal to "coach" a child into making false accusations of abuse. If that is true in Texas any adult who helped them with their story also cannot be held criminally responsible.

If the girls have an ongoing history of making false allegations of sexual assaults we should talk about that as it could be very important.

Rosa could you please email me by clicking on the blue "fourliveslost" at the top of this post. I have tried calling you but you never seem to be home. I need to ask you some questions.

Darrell