- BBC News World
American writer Alice Sebold apologized for her role in the wrongful conviction of a man who was wrongly accused of raping her in 1981.
In her book “Lucky”, the author described her rape and later told the police that she had seen a black man whom she believed to be her attacker.
For this, Anthony Broadwater was placed under arrest and sentenced to prison, where he spent 16 years. He was released from jail in 1998.
However, on November 22, a judge cleared Broadwater of all charges.
In a statement sent by his lawyers, the man said he was “relieved by the writer’s apology.”
“You have to have a lot of courage to do that. It is still painful for me because I was wrongfully convicted, but this will help me in my process to process everything that happened, “he said.
In the apology letter, Sebold notes that “my most regret of all is the fact that the life you could have had was taken from you, and I know that no apology can change what happened and that, plus, he’s never going to change it. ”
The novel “Lucky” (published in 1999), in which she recounts details of her rape, sold more than a million copies and launched her writing career. Later he wrote another novel, “From My Sky” (Lovely Bones), which was adapted into a film by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson.
At the news, the editor of “Lucky” announced Tuesday that it will stop distributing the memoirs while it works with Sebold to “consider how the work could be revised.”
The story and the book
The book details how Sebold was raped when she was 18 years old and studying at Syracuse University in New York.
Months later, she noted that she had seen a black man who she thought was the one who raped her and reported it to the police.
A uniformed officer proceeded with the arrest of Broadwater, who had reportedly been in the area on the days the rape occurred.
After the capture, Sebold was unable to identify the man among other suspects and pointed to another person in a police proceeding. However, despite this, Broadwater was brought to trial and Sebold pointed it out. as her rapist in court.
For this and a capillary analysis, Broadwater was convicted for the crimes of rape and sexual assault.
Despite being released from prison in 1998, Broadwater, who always maintained his innocence, continued to be registered in the sex crimes registry, which made it difficult for him to access various jobs and had to dedicate himself to garbage collection and home repair work.
And so it happened these last 25 years.
But how did Broadwater change the sentence?
It all started when a producer who wanted to adapt the story of “Lucky” for the cinema began to see there were several unanswered questions and decided to hire a private investigator.
“Certain things struck me as unusual in the American criminal justice system, specifically the police procedure in which Sebold chose the wrong person as his assailant, but they decided to prosecute Broadwater anyway“Producer Timothy Mucciante told the BBC.
Mucciante pointed out that he presented these questions to the other colleagues in the production, but they told him that the book had been reviewed by several lawyers.
“In June, I was separated from the project and about a week later I started talking to the private investigator,” he said.
In less than three days, Mucciante noted, they realized that Broadwater he had been unjustly condemned.
Following this, the case was taken to court for review. And a New York district judge decided Nov. 22 to exonerate Broadwater of all charges, as well as remove his name from the sex crimes registry.
The producer noted that this was all “terrible tragedy … not only in terms of Alice’s unfortunate rape, but also what happened to Anthony Broadwater, who spent 16 years in prison and 23 years later as a registered sex offender.” , I note.
And she clarified that “Sebald, who at that time was 18 years old and had just been sexually assaulted, could not be blamed at all. This was a failure of justice“.
Upon hearing the news that he had been acquitted of the crime, Broadwater, 61, told the AP news agency that he was crying “tears of joy and relief.”
Sebold said in his statement that he had spent the past eight days trying to “cunderstand how this could have happened“.
“I will also grapple with the fact that my rapist will, more than likely, never be known, may have raped other women, and will never serve the time in prison that Broadwater served,” the writer added.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.