‘The Lovely Bones’ Author Alice Sebold Apologizes to Man Exonerated in 1981 Rape

Anthony Broadwater and his wife. Broadwater was wrongfully convicted of raping author Alice Sebold in 1981. Image: screenshot from Youtube/Syracuse

Last Tuesday, author Alice Sebold publicly apologized to Anthony Broadwater, the man she excused of raping her about 30 years ago, which was also the premise of Lucky, her memoir , the Associated Press reports. Last week, Broadwater was exonerated of the 1981 rape crime.

Sebold claims that she struggled with her participation in a “system that sent an innocent man to jail.”

In a statement posted on Medium, Sebold expressed her remorse to Broadwater for being incarcerated for a crime he never committed.

“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,” her statement read.

She wrote that “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.”

Responding in a statement prepared by his legal team, Broadwater said he was “relieved that she has apologized.”

“It must have taken a lot of courage for her to do that. It’s still painful to me because I was wrongfully convicted, but this will help me in my process to come to peace with what happened,” the statement continued

As EBONY previously reported, Broadwater, who spent 16 years in prison for raping Sebold while she was a student at Syracuse University, was fully exonerated late November.

Broadwater, who had always maintained his innocence throughout the whole ordeal, described experiencing the stigma of being known as a sex offender while trying to rebuild his life after being released from prison in 1998.

“On my two hands, I can count the people that allowed me to grace their homes and dinners, and I don’t get past 10,” he said. “That’s very traumatic to me.”

Since Broadwater’s exoneration, the book publisher Simon & Schuster and its imprint, Scribner announced that they had ceased distribution of Lucky in all formats and are currently working with Sebold on a possible revision to the novel.

Sebold reflected on how Broadwater’s life was changed forever because of his conviction.

“It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened,” said Sebold.“ I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail. 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.”

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