Just eight days after Anthony Broadwater was acquitted on rape charges in the 1981 rape of best-selling author Alice Sebold, she apologized to him by stating Broadwater is an “innocent” man.
According to Syracuse.com, the accuser had written a detailed apology before releasing it to the public on Tuesday, Nov. 30. Sebold’s representatives sent a copy to Broadwater to have first-hand knowledge of what was mentioned in the apology.
“It comes sincerely from her heart,” Broadwater told Syracuse.com. “She knowingly admits what happened. I accept her apology.”
Sebold’s apology mentioned how traumatized she was as an 18-year-old rape victim who had no choice but to rely on the American justice system to seek justice for her alleged rape. She started her career in 1999 with the memoir “Lucky,” recounting her rape in Syracuse’s Thornden Park and her experience with the criminal justice system that led to Broadwater’s conviction in 1982, Syracuse.com reported.
Broadwater, 61, served a 16-year sentence in prison for a crime the author now realizes that he did not commit.
“It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened,” Sebold wrote in the statement posted on Medium, an online publishing website. “I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail.”
During his trial, only two pieces of evidence against Broadwater were Sebold’s identification after picking out the wrong man in an earlier police lineup and microscopic hair analysis, which is now deemed junk science.
Broadwater told Syracuse.com that he was still trying to process Sebold’s words in the apology. He said it took a while for the words to sink in. But after thinking it over and talking to his wife, its emotional weight was overwhelming.
“He cried,” said Hammond, one of his lawyers. “His wife cried, too.”
“It was a big relief,” Broadwater said. “It must have taken a lot of courage to come to terms and make that apology.”
Broadwater also released a statement to Syracuse.com through his lawyers.
“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,” Broadwater said in the statement.
To close out her written apology, Sebold stated that the country is now facing the repercussions of a flawed criminal justice system that contributed to Broadwater’s conviction.
“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,” Sebold wrote.
“Today, American society is starting to acknowledge and address the systemic issues in our judicial system that too often means that justice for some comes at the expense of others. Unfortunately, this was not a debate, or a conversation, or even a whisper when I reported my rape in 1981.”