Woman released, questions about ritual abuse case - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Woman released, questions about ritual abuse case

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A former Austin Day Care owner who spent 20 years in prison after being accused of child sexual abuse is set free tonight.

It's a controversial case that is part of the daycare sex abuse hysteria from the 1980s.

Tuesday the District Attorney's Office agreed to release Fran Keller on bond based on false evidence.

"I am just totally in shock that it's even happening right now cause it's been a very, very long time for me and I've had a lot of grieving," said Donna Bankston, Fran Keller's daughter.

Bankston was 20-years old when her mother and step father were taken away. Now 20 years later she is getting her family back. A moment she thought would never come.

"My daughter was almost two and my son was three so my mother never got to even spend any time growing up with their family. My mom growing up with her grandkids. It's really sad," Bankston said.

It was in 1992 that Fran and Dan Keller were sentenced to 48 years in prison. This was after three children from their home based Austin daycare made sexual abuse allegations tied to satanic rituals.

Bankston claims the children were brainwashed.

"I lived with my mom. You're not going to turn around and be a child molestor at the age of 40 years old and start worshipping the devil at the age of 40 years old. This is ridiculous, this is nothing but a total railroading witch hunt," Bankston said.

At a hearing this past August, a doctor who testified in the jury trial years earlier said he was incorrect in his examination of one of the child victims in the case.

District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg agreed that there was a reasonable likelihood that his false testimony affected the judgment of the jury and violated the rights to a fair trial.

"The other claims revolve around other various issues. You had a quack expert testifying for the state. You had police officers who were scouring the hill country for airports for the planes they suppose took off from south Austin to Mexico where the children were molested by Mexican Generals," Keller's attorney Keith Hampton said.

Hampton says what he is hoping for next is their exoneration.

"There's no justice. They were wrongfully convicted," Bankston said.

Something Bankston says she has known since the beginning.

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