Best-Selling Author Alice Sebold Publicly Apologizes For Sending Man To Prison For 16 Years In Now-Overturned Rape Case

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Stock Photo - Man in prison.

The best-selling author of the memoir “Lucky” and the novel “The Lovely Bones” apologized on Tuesday to the man who was convicted of her rape almost 40 years ago after his conviction was vacated on Nov. 22.

Anthony J. Broadwater, 61, spent 16 years in jail after being wrongly convicted of raping Alice Sebold in 1982 when she was 18-years-old, the Associated Press reported. His guilty verdict was overturned when prosecutors reexamined the case and found serious flaws in both his arrest and trial.

Sebold apologized for “unwittingly” being a part of “a system that sent an innocent man to jail,” in a statement released to the AP and later posted on Medium.

“I am sorry most of all for the fact that the life you could have led was unjustly robbed from you,” she wrote. “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,” she added.

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Broadwater, who was forced to register as a sex offender after being released from prison in 1998, said he was “relieved that she has apologized,” in a statement released by his lawyers. He told the AP the day after the conviction was overturned that he cried “tears of joy and relief.”

Sebold wrote in “Lucky” that she had identified a black man on the street several months after her sexual assault who she believed to be her rapist, the AP reported. After Broadwater’s arrest, she failed to identify him in a police lineup, instead choosing another man because she was scared of “the expression in his eyes.”

Prosecutors still put Broadwater on trial and he was convicted largely based on Sebold identifying him as her rapist on the witness stand, along with testimony that microscopic hair analysis linked him to the crime, the AP reported. The type of analysis is now considered junk science by the U.S. Department of Justice.

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“It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened,” said Sebold, now 58. “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.”


Publisher Simon & Schuster and its imprint Scribner told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement it would “cease distribution of all formats” of “Lucky” in light of the exoneration of Broadwater.

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