Trial and Error

After an appeals court overturned the convictions of two Texans implicated in a child sex ring, the latest defendant went on trial with the same judge, the same evidence—and the same verdict.
Trial and Error
TIPPING THE SCALES: In the latest Mineola swingers club case, the power of the children’s testimony seemed to outweigh the facts.
Illustration by Edel Rodriguez

The little girl had changed her mind. After five years, four interviews with social workers and law enforcement officers, and three trials, Ginny had come to a realization about the “sex kindergarten,” the horrible place in the trailer in that brushy field just outside Tyler where, she had previously said, she had been taught to dance and do “sexual stuff.” “I’ve remembered in my mind that that never happened,” she announced in open court. When, asked the surprised prosecutor, Smith County district attorney Matt Bingham, had she come to this conclusion? “Last week, the week before that.” What prompted it? “God.” She had prayed, she said, and received “a warm feeling in my heart.”

Ginny, eleven, is tall for her age, with wavy blond hair that falls to her shoulders. She had testified about the sex kindergarten three times in court, as had three other children, Sheryl, Harlan, and Callie (the names of all the children in this story have been changed). The four had also testified that in 2004,

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