Man convicted of rape of “Lovely Bones” author Alice Sebold exonerated

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Editor’s Note: This story contains mentions of rape.

Alice Sebold published her memoir “Lucky” in 1999. She describes in detail being raped while in first year at Syracuse University.

Sebold would later become known for her novel “The Lovely Bones”, a fictional story that also revolves around rape. But Anthony Broadwater, the man convicted of her 1981 rape in Thornden Park near SU, has maintained his innocence.

On November 22, after more than 16 years in prison, Broadwater was exonerated by New York State Supreme Court Judge Roman Cuffy, who quashed the rape conviction and related charges, a reported CNN.


Broadwater spent 16 years in prison for the felony after his conviction in 1982, according to CNN, and has been denied parole at least five times. Since his release in 1998, he had remained on the New York State Public Sex Offender Registry.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick sided with defense lawyers in the argument that the original lawsuits were flawed, reported.

Broadwater was charged with the crime when Sebold, then 18, saw him on the street in Syracuse months after the attack. She reported Broadwater to police after recognizing him as her attacker, CNN reported, her lawyer said, but was subsequently unable to identify him in a police queue.

Broadwater asked an appeals court to overturn the conviction on the basis of composition, but the court refused in 1984 because Broadwater and the man Sebold had chosen “bore a remarkable resemblance,” Syracuse reported. com.

The conviction was ultimately based on evidence of Sebold’s recognition of Broadwater and analysis of the hair found at the scene, The New York Times reported.

However, hair analysis is widely regarded as a flawed and inaccurate forensic tool. A 2015 investigation with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project found that 26 of 28 examiners in the FBI’s Microscopic Hair Comparison Unit overestimated the match in a way that benefited prosecutors.

Broadwater’s other calls included one in 1983, another in 1992, and a third in 2006, reported. Each of these events happened before microscopic hair analysis was discredited, and each has gone nowhere.

According to the New York Times, “Lucky” editor Scribner does not intend to update the text of the briefs to reflect the exemption.

A planned film adaptation of “Lucky” has shed light on the doubt surrounding the prosecution case, according to The New York Times, after the project’s executive producer, Timothy Mucciante, noticed discrepancies between the script and the portrayal of the story in Sebold’s memories.

Mucciante hired a private investigator to review the evidence against Broadwater, ultimately bringing their findings to Broadwater attorney J. David Hammond.

In November, Cuffy quashed Broadwater’s designation as a sex offender in addition to his rape conviction, reported.

Broadwater was 20 at the time of his arrest. He had just returned home to Syracuse after serving in the Marine Corps in California, the New York Times reported.

After his release from prison, Broadwater struggled to find work due to his criminal record, CNN reported. Although his wife, whom he met after his release, wanted children, Broadwater refused. He felt it was unfair to bring a child into the world under the stigma of his conviction.

Sebold did not comment on the exemption, The New York Times reported.

“I just hope and pray that maybe Ms. Sebold will show up and say, ‘Hey, I made a big mistake,’ and apologize,” Broadwater told The New York Times. “I sympathize with her. But she was wrong.

Contact Richard: [email protected] | @ richardperrins2

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