Man Exonerated of Alice Sebold’s Rape Says as She Addresses Her Role in His Conviction: 'I Accept Her Apology'
Anthony J. Broadwater says he was denied parole five times during his 16-year sentence because he would not admit to a rape he did not commit.
Novelist Alice Sebold has issued a public apology to Anthony J. Broadwater, the man wrongfully convicted for a rape she describes in her memoir, “Lucky.” In a statement published on Medium, Sebold, most famous for her book “The Lovely Bones,” apologized and addressed her "unwitting" role in making Broadwater “another young Black man brutalized by our flawed legal system”
“First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through,” Sebold wrote in the statement. “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. Of the many things I wish for you, I hope most of all that you and your family will be granted the time and privacy to heal.”
Her apology comes eight days after Broadwater’s conviction was vacated on the basis that the legal case, which Sebold details in her memoir, was deeply flawed. “It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened,” she wrote.
“It comes sincerely from her heart,” Broadwater said through tears, according to Syracuse.com. “She knowingly admits what happened. I accept her apology.”
“It took a lot of courage, and I guess she’s brave and weathering through the storm like I am,” Broadwater continued, according to the New York Times. “To make that statement, it’s a strong thing for her to do, understanding that she was a victim and I was a victim too.”
Broadwater, 61, spent 16 years in prison as a result of the wrongful conviction before he was released in 1998, and the accusation followed him for the rest of his life when he had to register as a sex offender after his release from prison.
“On my two hands, I can count the people that allowed me to grace their homes and dinners, and I don’t get past 10,” he told the New York Times. “That’s very traumatic to me.”
Broadwater has always maintained his innocence, and was denied parole at least five times because he wouldn’t admit to the crime he did not commit, his lawyers told CNN.
In her memoir “Lucky,” Sebold describes the rape that occurred in 1981, when she was a freshman at Syracuse University, and does acknowledge the subsequent investigation and Broadwater’s conviction seemed like, “a panicked white girl saw a black man on the street. He spoke familiarly to her and in her mind she connected this to her rape.”
Sebold’s publisher Scribner and its parent company, Simon & Schuster, said in a statement that they will stop distributing the book in all formats "while Sebold and Scribner together consider how the work might be revised," according to CNN.
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