Author Alice Sebold is best known for her novel The Lovely Bones. However, in her first book, her memoir Lucky she described being attacked and raped while a college student.
According to BuzzFeed, a man connected to Sebold’s traumatic experience was arrested and convicted of the rape. Now, the author is apologizing after it was revealed that the man who was held responsible for her rape was wrongfully convicted.
Anthony Broadwater Jr. was released from prison in 1999 but spent the last 16 years as a sex offender, making it difficult to live his life. He was exonerated last week.
‘The Lovely Bones’ Author Alice Sebold Apologizes to the Man Who Was Wrongfully Convicted of Her Rape
A statement issued by Sebold, which was originally published by the Associated Press, revealed that she is “truly sorry” and “deeply regretted what [Broadwater] had been through. “I am sorry most of all for the fact that the life you could have led was unjustly robbed from you, and I know that no apology can change what happened to you and never will.”
As BuzzFeed reported, Broadwater was convicted of first-degree rape and other charges in connection to Sebold’s 1981 assault. His defense asserted that he had been convicted on insufficient and now-discredited forms of evidence.
In 1981, Sebold was 18 years old when she was attacked as she walked through a tunnel while a student at Syracuse University. Months had passed before she called the police after walking past a man on the street who she believed was her attacker.
According to BuzzFeed, in her memoir, Sebold wrote, “He was smiling as he approached. He recognized me. It was a stroll in the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the street. ‘Hey, girl,’ he said. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ I looked directly at him. Knew his face had been the face over me in the tunnel.”
Broadwater was then arrested after a police officer suggested he was seen in the area where Sebold believed she saw her attacker. Even though Sebold picked out another Black man in a lineup, she testified that it was Broadwater who raped her.
As it was later learned, prosecutors falsely told Sebold that Broadwater was the friend of the man she picked out of the lineup. They told her Broadwater and the other man were trying to trick her.
“It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened,” she wrote in her official statement. “I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail. I will also grapple with the fact that my rapist will, in all likelihood, never be known, may have gone on to rape other women, and certainly will never serve the time in prison that Mr. Broadwater did.”
And District Attorney William Fitzpatrick agreed with the defense, saying, “I’m not going to sully these proceedings by saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ That doesn’t cut it. This should never have happened.”
Broadwater never stopped maintaining his innocence and refused to admit to the crime, according to BuzzFeed. “I’ve been crying tears of joy and relief the last couple of days. I’m so elated, the cold can’t even keep me cold,” Broadwater told the Associated Press after he was removed from the sex offender registry.
Miraculously, Broadwater’s exoneration came about after Sebold’s memoir was tapped to become a film. Executive producer Timothy Mucciante left the project after he saw the discrepancies while writing the script.
“I started having some doubts, not about the story that Alice told about her assault, which was tragic, but the second part of her book about the trial, which didn’t hang together,” Mucciante told the New York Times. As a result, he hired a private investigator to look into the case.
As BuzzFeed reported, the potential movie will no longer continue production.
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
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