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Author Alice Sebold Apologizes to Man Wrongly Jailed for 16 Years for Rape in Her Book 'Lucky'

Author Alice Sebold Apologizes to Man Wrongly Jailed for 16 Years for Rape in Her Book 'Lucky'

Alice Sebold is apologizing.

The 58-year-old American author, known for her memoir Lucky and novels like The Lovely Bones, apologized on Tuesday (November 30) to Anthony Broadwater, who was exonerated last week in the 1981 rape that served as the basis for her memoir.

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

The now 61-year-old man was convicted in 1982 of raping her when she was a student at Syracuse University. He served 16 years in prison. After his release in 1998, he remained on New York’s sex offender registry and worked as a trash hauler and handyman.

His conviction was overturned on November 22 after prosecutors reexamined the case and determined there were serious flaws in both his arrest and trial.

In a statement, she said that as a “traumatized 18-year-old rape victim” she chose to put her faith in the American legal system.

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

Alice Sebold wrote in 1999′s Lucky of being raped and then spotting a Black man in the street several months later who she believed was her attacker. She went to police, and an officer said the man must have been Anthony Broadwater, who had been allegedly seen in the area.

She failed to identify him in a police lineup, picking a different man as her attacker because she was scared of “the expression in his eyes.”

Still, he was put on trial and convicted, largely due to the author identifying him as her rapist on the witness stand and testimony that microscopic hair analysis linked him to the crime, which has since been deemed “junk science by the U.S. Department of Justice.”

He told the AP last week he was crying “tears of joy and relief” after his conviction was overturned by a judge in Syracuse.

“I am grateful that Mr. Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he became another young Black man brutalized by our flawed legal system. I will forever be sorry for what was done to him,” Alice went on to say.

“It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened. 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.”

Melissa Swartz, an attorney for the man, said he had no comment on the statement.

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Photos: Getty Images
Posted to: Alice Sebold, Anthony Broadwater

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