Nov 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Author Alice Sebold apologizes to man wrongly jailed for rape depicted in her memoir

Alice Sebold, American writer, Milan, Italy, 2018.

Alice Sebold. Photo: Leonardo Cendamo/Getty Images

Author Alice Sebold apologized on Tuesday to Anthony Broadwater, the man who spent 16 years in prison for the rape depicted in Sebold's memoir, after authorities exonerated him due to "concerns the wrong man had been sent to jail," AP reports.

Driving the news: "It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened. I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail," Sebold wrote in a statement published on Medium.

  • "My goal in 1982 was justice — not to perpetuate injustice," Sebold said. "And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man’s life by the very crime that had altered mine."

Catch up quick: Broadwater, 61, was convicted in 1982 of raping Sebold while she was a student at Syracuse University, AP reports.

  • Sebold wrote in "Lucky" about being raped and months later seeing a Black man on the street who she believed was her attacker. Sebold, who is white, went to the police, who subsequently arrested him.
  • Broadwater was put on trial and convicted "based largely on Sebold identifying him as her rapist on the witness stand and testimony that microscopic hair analysis had tied him to the crime," per AP.

The big picture: Netflix last week pulled plans to adapt Sebold's memoir "Lucky" after Broadwater's conviction was overturned, Yahoo! News reports.

What they're saying: Broadwater's attorney did not comment on Sebold’s statement, per AP.

  • "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," Sebold wrote.
  • "I will forever be sorry for what was done to him."
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