Lovely Bones Author Alice Sebold Apologizes To Man Exonerated in Her Rape Case

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  • Alice Sebold
    American writer

Alice Sebold has apologized to Anthony Broadwater after he was wrongfully convicted of raping her in 1981.

The Lovely Bones author, who wrote about her sexual assault in the book Lucky, issued a public statement to Medium on Tuesday, Nov. 30, a week after a New York State Supreme Court Justice exonerated the 61-year-old.

Broadwater served 16 years in prison and was released in 1998. Following his release, he was placed on New York's sex offender registry.

"First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through," she wrote. "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."

Sebold stated that when she was raped at the age of 18, she merely wanted justice, "not to perpetuate injustice," adding, "And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man's life by the very crime that had altered mine."

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"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," the 58-year-old author continued. "I will forever be sorry for what was done to him."

Additionally, the writer addressed her decision to wait more than a week to speak out, explaining she has been trying to "comprehend how this could have happened."

Anthony Broadwater
Katrina Tulloch/Syracuse.com/YouTube

"I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail," Sebold said. "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."

The statement concluded, "Throughout my life, I have always tried to act with integrity and to speak from a place of honesty. And so, I state here clearly that I will remain sorry for the rest of my life that while pursuing justice through the legal system, my own misfortune resulted in Mr. Broadwater's unfair conviction for which he has served not only 16 years behind bars but in ways that further serve to wound and stigmatize, nearly a full life sentence."

Broadwater's attorney told the Associated Press that her client had no comment about the statement.

Anthony Broadwater
Katrina Tulloch/Syracuse.com/YouTube

At the time of Broadwater's exoneration on Nov. 22, he told the Associated Press, "I never, ever, ever thought I would see the day that I would be exonerated."

In her memoir Lucky, Sebold recalled being raped and beaten in a tunnel in Thornden Park near Syracuse University, where she was a student. Though it was dark at the time of her assault, she thought she saw her rapist a few months later and reported the encounter to police.

Detectives later asked Sebold if she could identify her assailant in a police lineup, which included Broadwater, who authorities suspected of the rape. Despite the fact that Sebold did not pick out Broadwater in the lineup, prosecutors took him to trial, and Sebold testified.

Her testimony and microscopic hair analysis, a science that has since been deemed unreliable, played a large role in Broadwater's conviction.

Lucky was going to be turned into a feature film but Variety reported the project is no longer in the works. The film's director and screenwriter, Karen Moncreiff's, rep said she had no comment at this time.

For free, confidential help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit rainn.org.