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The Source: The San Antonio 4 | Safety Concerns About e-Cigarettes

Roscoe Ellis (Flickr User: arellis49)
Lady Justice in Front of Bexar County Courthouse

In the first segment:

In 1994 two girls described a harrowing scene of a sadistic rape and orgy. Their story implicated their aunt, Elizabeth Ramirez, and three of her friends in sexually abusing the girls who were aged 7 and 9 at the time. As a result of the girls testimony, along with that of child-abuse expert, Nancy Kellogg, 4 women, all in their late teens and early twenties, were sentenced to long prison sentences. Kellogg, who is now a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center, also noted signs that satanist ritual might have been a motivation of the four women. But now, nearly twenty years later, the story is looking less and less true.

The "scientific" basis of  Nancy Kellog's testimony was dubious at the time of trial, and has since been proved false. Last September, the youngest niece involved, now 25, recanted her statement in a letter to her aunt. She said her father had threatened and coached her on what to say. According to a San Antonio Current interview, Elizabeth Ramirez said he did it to get back at her for rejecting his romantic advances.  

"I remember everything he (Limon) coached me to say, as well as my grandmother. I'm sorry it has taken this long for me to know what truly happened," Ramirez's Youngest Niece

In addition to Ramirez, who currently is slated for release in 2035, Anna Vasquez, Kristie Mayhugh, and Cassie Rivera have all been in jail as a result of these pieces of evidence.  Vasquez was released on parole after serving 13 years of a 15-year sentence.  

Last month the State of Texas implemented reforms that allow for a retrial based on bad science being introduced into the original proceedings. New life was breathed into the case when prosecutors acknowledged last week that the science presented was flawed and that they would work with the defense on a bail arrangement for the remaining prisoners.

Former San Antonio Current reporter, Michael Barajas joins us along with Mike Ware, who heads the women's defense to talk about the case.

In the second segment:


e-Cigarettes have been touted by advertisers as the safe alternative to tobacco-based products, but don't believe the hype.  There are a lot of unknowns with e-cigarettes, since no long term studies have been done.  Also, according to the University of Texas Health Science Center, no conclusive proof exists showing they actually help people quit smoking.  The Food and Drug Administration has found toxins you would find in anti-freeze and the continued use of nicotine, which they contain, has ramifications for the body.

Despite the unknowns, e-Cigarettes have made a lot of money, proving popular. The Centers for Disease Control has shown usage of the product doubled in one year, from 2011-2012, among high school and middle school students.  

Dr Ashok Kumar, a family physician with UT Medicine, San Antonio. joins us to inform us of the numerous issues and claims of this unregulated, unstudied, and highly profitable product.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive