Eight days after Syracuse man Anthony Broadwater was cleared of Alice Sebold’s rape in 1981, the best-selling author apologized and called the Syracuse resident an “innocent man”.
Before issuing his apology to the public on Tuesday afternoon, Sebold’s representatives sent a copy to Broadwater so he could be the first to read it.
“It sincerely comes from her heart,” Broadwater told Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard. “She knowingly admits what happened. I accept his apologies.
Broadwater then burst into tears.
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In her apology, later posted on the Medium website, Sebold wrote that she trusted the US justice system as an “18-year-old traumatized rape victim.” She launched her career in 1999 with the memoir “Lucky”, describing her rape in Syracuse’s Thornden Park and her journey through the criminal justice system that led to her conviction in 1982.
This sent Broadwater to 16 years in prison for a rape Sebold now believes he did not commit.
“It took me the last eight days to figure out how this could have happened,” Sebold wrote in a statement posted on Medium, an online publishing site. “I will continue to fight the role I unwittingly played in a system that sent an innocent person to jail.
Broadwater, Now 61, Exoneration Occurred a Week ago Monday in a Syracuse Courtroom and First Reported by Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard. The only two pieces of evidence against Broadwater were the identification of Sebold at trial – after picking the wrong man from a previous police team – and the microscopic analysis of the hair, now considered unwanted science.
Broadwater told Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard that he always tried to soak up Sebold’s lyrics. He was already in the office of his lawyers David Hammond and Melissa Swartz on Tuesday when representatives for Sebold reached out to show him what she had written.
Broadwater said it took a while for the apology to soak in. But after thinking about it and talking to his wife, his emotional weight overcame him.
“It was a great relief,” said Broadwater. “It must have taken a lot of courage to reconcile and apologize.”
Broadwater also issued a statement to Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard through its lawyers.
“It is still painful for me because I have been wrongly convicted, but it will help me in my peace process with what has happened,” Broadwater said in the statement.
In his self-published statement, Sebold noted that the country is only now grappling with problems in the criminal justice system that may have contributed to Broadwater’s wrongful conviction.
“I’m grateful that Mr. Broadwater was finally vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago he became another young black man brutalized by our flawed legal system. I will always be sorry for what was done to him, ”Sebold wrote.
“Today, American society is beginning to recognize and address systemic problems in our justice system that too often mean that justice for some comes at the expense of others. Sadly, it wasn’t a debate, or a conversation, or even a whisper when I reported my rape in 1981.
Writer Douglass Dowty can be contacted at [email protected] or 315-470-6070.