Alice Sebold: what was author’s statement after man cleared of raping her, why was her memoir ‘Lucky’ pulled?
The author issued an apology to the man who had been wrongly accused of raping her in 1981 after he was cleared of the charge last week
Author Alice Sebold has issued an apology to a man who was wrongly convicted of raping her in 1981 after he was cleared of the crime last week.
Anthony Broadwater spent 16 years in jail after being accused of the crime, which Sebold recalled in her memoir ‘Lucky’.
Sebold, best well-known for writing The Lovely Bones, described being attacked while studying at Syracuse University in New York and went on to tell police that she had seen a black man who she believed to be her attacker.
She has now issued an apology to Broadwater, with her popular memoir pulled from shop shelves.
What did Alice Sebold say in her statement?
The author sent the apology to Broadwater and also released her statement publicly.
In her statement, Sebold said she regretted “unwittingly” playing a part in “a system that sent an innocent man to jail.”
She 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.
“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.”
The apology was accepted by Broadwater, who, in a statement released by his lawyers, said he was “relieved that she had apologised”.
He added: “It took a lot of courage, and I guess she’s brave and weathering through the storm like I am.
“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.”
What happened to Anthony Broadwater?
Months after the attack, Sebold, who was 18-years-old at the time, recalled seeing a black man in the street who she believed to be her attacker and contacted police.
Broadwater was detained by police after allegedly being seen in the area at the time.
Despite Sebold not being able to pick him out of a police lineup, Broadwater was put on trial for her rape and the author identified him as her attacker in court.
Broadwater was convicted of the crime in 1982, based on Sebold’s identification and microscopic hair analysis.
He was placed on the sex offenders list after he was released from prison in 1998.
However, Broadwater was cleared of the crime on 22 November.
Cops re-examined the case after an executive producer working on the film adaptation of Sebold’s memoir ‘Lucky’ raised questions over Broadwater’s incarceration and hired a private investigator.
Speaking to the BBC, executive producer Timothy Mucciante said that it only took two days of investigation for himself and the private investigator to be convinced that Broadwater was wrongfully jailed.
Broadwater was then exonerated after police said that there was insufficient evidence and forms of evidence which have now been discredited.
Why has Alice Sebold’s memoir Lucky been pulled from shelves?
As a result of the conviction being overturned, Sebold’s memoir has now been removed from stores.
On Tuesday (30 November) it was announced that Lucky, which has sold more than one million copies since being released in 1999, would be pulled from shelves by its publisher, Scribner.
Publishing house Simon & Schuster tweeted: “Following the recent exoneration of Anthony Broadwater, and in consultation with the author, Scribner and Simon & Schuster will cease distribution of all formats of Alice Sebold’s 1999 memoir LUCKY.”
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.