American Author Alice Sebold Apologises to Man Cleared of Her Rape After Spending 16 Years in Jail
© AP Photo / TINA FINEBERGFILE - Author Alice Sebold speaks at the Sunday Book and Author Breakfast at BookExpo America, Sunday June 3, 2007 in New York.
© AP Photo / TINA FINEBERG
In her book of memoirs Lucky, which started her career as an author, Sebold described being raped at the age of 18 and later reporting to police she had seen a black man in the street who she thought was her attacker.
American author Alice Sebold has apologised for playing her part in the wrongful conviction of a man who last week was cleared of her rape that happened in 1981.
In her statement, posted on the website Medium, Sebold said:
"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...40 years ago, as a traumatized 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my 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."
Anthony Broadwater was arrested and convicted, spending 16 years in prison. In 1998, he was released from prison but remained on the sex offenders list. Last month, he was exonerated following a re-examination of the case that found the evidence against him was insufficient. The case was made public after an executive producer working on a film adaptation of Sebold's memoir Lucky hired a private investigator to shed light on some details concerning the rape case.
"Certain things leapt out at me as being unusual in the American criminal justice system - specifically the line-up procedure where Alice picked the wrong person as her assailant… but they tried him [Mr Broadwater] anyway," producer Timothy Mucciante said in an interview with the BBC's Today.
According to AP, on hearing that he had been cleared of the crime, the 61-year-old Broadwater said he was crying "tears of joy and relief".
Sebold's memoir Lucky, which sold over a million copies and started her career as an author, tells the story of her being attacked when she was an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University in New York. Later, Sebold saw a black man in the street who she thought was her attacker and reported to the police. Broadwater was arrested and convicted based on Sebold's account and microscopic hair analysis.