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'The Lovely Bones' Author Alice Sebold Apologizes To Man Wrongly Convicted Of Her Rape

Author Alice Sebold tells Anthony Broadwater that "no apology can change what happened to you and never will.”

By Gina Tron
Anthony Broadwater Ap

“The Lovely Bones” author Alice Sebold has apologized to the man who was wrongfully convicted of raping her, an incident she chronicled in a memoir.

First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through,” she wrote in a statement that was released on Tuesday. “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.”

Last week, Broadwater, 61, fell into his courtroom chair crying when a Syracuse, New York judge vacated his 1982 rape conviction. He was wrongfully convicted of raping Sebold when she was an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University.

The author grew up to write about the ordeal in her 1999 memoir, “Lucky,” which had recently been in the process of being adapted into a film, a turn of events that ultimately led to Broadwater’s exoneration. The film's executive producer Timothy Mucciante left the project when he noticed discrepancies between the script and memoir. He then hired a private investigator to reexamine the case, and that investigator brought the information he gathered, which raised serious questions about Broadwater's guilt, to a defense attorney, BuzzFeed News reports.

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Variety reported Tuesday that the film adaptation has now been abandoned altogether.

Broadwater was released from prison in 1999, but he told the New York Times that he couldn’t get employment because of the conviction, which also isolated him from his loved ones.

At the time of Sebold's rape, Broadwater was brought in by police as a possible suspect. Despite the fact that she couldn't identify him in a police lineup, prosecutors went ahead with charges and  Sebold ended up testifying at trial that Broadwater was her attacker. Broadwater was mainly convicted on microscopic hair analysis evidence which has since been largely discredited.

“40 years ago, as a traumatized 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system,” Sebold wrote in her statement. "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.”

Broadwater told the Associated Press following his exoneration that he had been "crying tears of joy and relief the last couple of days." 

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