On Tuesday afternoon, former daycare workers Dan and Fran Keller were freed after serving 21 years each in prison. The Kellers were incarcerated after allegations from several of the children they looked after claimed the couple sexually abused children and forced them to partake in a number of satanic rituals.
The couple was originally sentenced to 48 year in prison each, but a recent appeal exonerated them of the charges. A doctor called to the witness stand in 1991 retracted his claim that one of the children’s hymen displayed symptoms of abuse. The doctor, Dr. Michael Mouw, now testifies that the child’s hymen was a normal pediatric hymen.
“Sometimes it takes time to figure out what you don’t know,” Mouw testified, saying he had received minimal training in pediatric sexual abuse before examining the girl. “I was mistaken.”
Here is an excerpt from the Austin American – Statesmen’s article detailing other allegations the children made:
“The children also accused the Kellers of forcing them to watch or participate in the killing and dismemberment of cats, dogs and a crying baby. Bodies were unearthed in cemeteries and new holes dug to hide freshly killed animals and, once, an adult passer-by who was shot and dismembered with a chain saw. The children recalled several plane trips, including one to Mexico, where they were sexually abused by soldiers before returning to Austin in time to meet their parents at the day care.”
Yet despite all of these claims, not one shred of physical evidence exists to back them up. The sole piece of physical evidence used to convict the Keller’s was the young girl’s hymen, which, again, has now been proven invalid.
Attorney Keith Hampton says the case now serves as a sobering look at the dangers of getting swept in a hysteric national phenomenon. As silly as it sounds now, Hampton notes that the late 80’s and early 90’s were a time when fear of satanic rituals was rampant in America. Unfortunately, the Kellers were victims of that hysteria.
“A 21st century court ought to be able to recognize a 20th century witch-hunt and render justice accordingly,” Hampton said.