Monday, January 24

Alice Sebold apologizes to the convicted man for his rape and later exonerated

(CNN) — Writer Alice Sebold apologized to a man who was exonerated last week of his rape, a crime she wrote about in her memoir “Lucky,” but the author also appeared to blame both a “flawed legal system” and the role she played in the condemnation of man.

“First of all, I want to say to Anthony Broadwater that I am very sorry and deeply sorry for what happened,” Sebold, the author of “The Lovely Bones,” wrote in a statement. posted on

Broadwater, who has always maintained his innocence, was convicted of the rape in 1982 and spent 16 years in prison. He was denied parole at least five times because he did not want to admit to a crime he had not committed, according to his attorneys. He tried at least five times to have the sentence overturned, he told CNN.

Last week, a New York State Supreme Court judge exonerated Broadwater and overturned his conviction and other related charges. The Onondaga County District Attorney joined the motion to vacate the conviction.

broadwater exonerado

Anthony Broadwater burst into tears after a judge cleared him of a decades-old rape conviction. (Credit: Katrina Tulloch / The Post-Standard via AP)

Why was he convicted?

Broadwater was convicted on the basis of two pieces of evidence: Sebold’s account and an interracial identification – the author is white and Broadwater is black – and the analysis of a piece of hair that was later found to be defective, his attorneys wrote.

In “Lucky,” Sebold wrote that after he was unable to identify Broadwater at a police recognition parade, “a detective and a prosecutor told him after the recognition parade that he had picked the wrong man and how the prosecutor found her. deliberately trained him to redid his misidentification, “according to the attorney’s claim that led to Broadwater’s exoneration.

The unreliability of the hair analysis and the conversation between the prosecutor and Sebold after the recognition conference would likely have led to a different verdict had they appeared at trial, the attorneys said.

“I am grateful that Mr. Broadwater was finally vindicated, but the fact is that 40 years ago he became another young black man brutalized by our flawed legal system. I will always regret what was done to him,” Sebold said.

Man who accepted rape and sexual assault charges will not go to prison 2:27

The facts, described in Sebold’s memoirs

Sebold described the rape, which occurred when she was a freshman at Syracuse University in 1981, in brutally honest details in “Lucky.” It was published a year after Broadwater got out of jail.

Its publisher, Scribner, and its parent company, Simon & Schuster, will stop distributing the book in all formats “while Sebold and Scribner jointly study how to review the work,” Brian Belfiglio, Scribner’s vice president of advertising and marketing, said in a briefing. reported to CNN.

CNN has reached out to Sebold and his representatives for comment.

“40 years ago, as an 18-year-old victim traumatized by rape, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice, not perpetuating injustice,” Sebold wrote. “And, of course, not to alter forever, and irremediably, the life of a young man for the same crime that had altered mine.”

Two ruined lives

Last week, Broadwater described how his life had been ruined by the false conviction.

He struggled to find work after he was released from jail when employers learned of his criminal record.

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“I did what I could, and that was, you know, create work for myself doing gardening, cutting trees, transporting, cleaning,” he told CNN.

His wife wanted children, but “did not want to bring them into the world because of this.” And now, the days are past, we cannot have children, “Broadwater told reporters after the court hearing.

“I will continue to regret for the rest of my life that, while pursuing justice through the legal system, my own misfortune resulted in the unjust conviction of Mr. Broadwater, for which he has served not only 16 years behind bars, but also It serves to further hurt and stigmatize, almost a full life sentence, “Sebold wrote.

Following her exoneration, Broadwater said she would like to receive an apology from the author, but also acknowledged what she had suffered.

“I sympathize with her, with what happened to her,” he said. “I just hope there is a sincere apology. I would accept it. I am not bitter or have a grudge towards her.”

Although Sebold said he struggles “with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail,” he said he grapples “with the fact that my rapist will, in all likelihood, never be known, he may have continued raping other women, and he will certainly never serve the jail time that Mr. Broadwater served. “

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