SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man wrongfully convicted in 1991 during the Satanic Panic hysteria is now officially a free man.
The state has exonerated Melvin Quinney from his conviction of indecency with a child.
“It’s like the beginning of the end of a very long nightmare,” Quinney said.
On Wednesday, Quinney and his kids heard the news they’ve been waiting years to hear — exoneration.
Quinney’s conviction was vacated, and he would no longer have to register as a sex offender.
In 1991, Quinney was accused by his son of being the leader of a Satanic cult and said Quinney had sexually abused him and his sister.
Quinney was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released in 1999 and was then required to register as a sex offender his entire life.
Last summer, with the help of the Innocence Project of Texas, Quinney’s son John Parker, now an adult, was back in court to testify that the entire ordeal was a lie. Parker, in testimony, said he was forced by his mother and other adults to say what he did as a child after his parents had separated.
During the ‘80s and ‘90s, multiple trials took place where individuals were accused of being in Satanic cults and being convicted of sexually abusing children. It was called “Satanic Panic.”
“I admire Mr. Quinney and his family so much for sticking with him and pursuing justice, truth in his case,” said Mike Ware, executive director of the Innocence Project of Texas. “I also really respect the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office in the way they handled this case.”
During last summer’s hearing, the district attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit took up the case and agreed with Ware and his team that Quinney was wrongfully convicted.
Quinney now hopes, with the compensation owed to him by the state, to move to Dallas to be closer to his kids and grandkids.
“We love each other, and that’s the main thing,” Quinney said. “We’re back together.”