Alice Sebold said she ‘will always be sorry’ for her role in the fake conviction of Anthony Broadwater, reports Chloe Keedy
American author Alice Sebold has apologized for her role in the wrongful conviction of a man who was cleared of raping her in 1981, after spending 16 years in prison.
Anthony Broadwater, 61, was convicted in 1982 of the rape of Sebold when she was an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University in New York.
He served 16 years in prison.
Mr Broadwater’s conviction was overturned on November 22 after prosecutors re-examined the case and determined that his arrest and trial were seriously flawed.
Mr Broadwater, who was released from jail in 1998, told The Associated Press last week he was crying “tears of joy and relief” after his conviction was overturned by a Syracuse judge.
In a statement released to The Associated Press, Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones and The Almost Moon, wrote to her to say that she was truly sorry for what he had been through.
“I’m especially sorry that the life you could have led was unfairly stolen from you, and I know that no excuse can change what happened to you and never will,” she wrote. .She wrote that “As an 18-year-old traumatized rape victim, I chose to trust the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice – not to perpetuate injustice.
“And certainly not to forever and irreparably alter the life of a young man by the very crime that had altered mine.” “In a statement released by his lawyers, Mr Broadwater said he was “relieved that she apologized”.“It must have taken a lot of courage for him to do that. It is still painful for me because I was wrongly convicted, but it will help me in my process to make peace with what happened.
In her 1999 memoir Lucky, she described being raped and later told police that she saw a black man on the street 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 Mr. Broadwater, who was allegedly seen in the area.
After Mr Broadwater’s arrest, Sebold failed to identify him in a police line, choosing another man as her attacker because she was afraid of the “look in his eyes”.But prosecutors still tried him.
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 discredited by the US Department of Justice.
In a statement, Sebold, now 58, said: “I am grateful that Mr. Broadwater was finally vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago he became a another young black man brutalized by our flawed legal system. I will always be sorry for what was done to him.
“I will continue to fight the role I unwittingly played in a system that sent an innocent person to jail. “
Mr. Broadwater remained on the New York sex offender registry after his release from jail in 1998 and worked as a garbage carrier and handyman.On Tuesday, publisher Simon & Schuster and its Scribner imprint said they had ceased distribution of “Lucky” in all formats and were working with the author to consider how it might be revised.
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