Alice Sebold apologizes to a man cleared of the 1981 rape featured in her memoir

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Author Alice Sebold apologized on Tuesday to the man who was cleared last week of the 1981 rape that was the basis of her Lucky memoir.

Sebold said she was struggling with the role she played “within a system that sent an innocent man to jail”.

Anthony Broadwater, 61, was convicted in 1982 of the rape of Sebold while she was a student at Syracuse University. He served 16 years in prison. His conviction was overturned on November 22 after prosecutors re-examined the case and determined that his arrest and trial were seriously flawed.

In a statement released to The Associated Press, Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon, said that as an “18-year-old traumatized rape victim” she chose to trust the system. American legal.

“My goal in 1982 was justice – not to perpetuate injustice,” she said. “And certainly not to forever and irreparably alter the life of a young man by the very crime that had altered mine.” “

Broadwater lawyer Melissa Swartz said he had no comment.

In 1999, Sebold wrote in Lucky that she was raped and then spotted a black man on the street several months later whom she believed to be her attacker.

Sebold, who is white, surrendered to the police. An officer said the man on the street must have been Broadwater, who was reportedly seen in the area.

After Broadwater’s arrest, Sebold failed to identify him in a police queue, choosing another man as the assailant because she was afraid of the “look in his eyes.”

Prosecutors still tried Broadwater. He was convicted largely on the basis of Sebold identifying him as his rapist on the witness stand and testimony that the microscopic analysis of the hair had linked him to the crime. This type of analysis has since been considered an undesirable science by the US Department of Justice.

Broadwater, who was released from jail in 1998, told the AP last week that he was crying “tears of joy and relief” after his conviction was overturned by a Syracuse judge.

Sebold, who has yet to comment on the Broadwater exemption, said in his statement: “I am grateful that Mr. Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he has become another young black man brutalized by our faulty legal system. I will always be sorry for what was done to him.

Broadwater remained on the New York sex offender registry after his release from prison and worked as a trash hauler and handyman.

“It took me the last eight days to figure out how this could have happened,” said Sebold, now 58.

“I will continue to fight the role I unwittingly played in a system that sent an innocent person to jail. I will also be grappling with the fact that my rapist will in all likelihood never be known, that he may have continued to rape other women and that he will certainly never serve Mr. Broadwater.


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