The rape took place in a park in Syracuse, New York in 1981, and was issued about 20 years after the rape occurred because a man convicted of a crime had a hard time rebuilding his life after being released from prison. It was explained in detail in the memoirs.
The book entitled “Lucky” began the career of writer Alice Sebold, who later became internationally renowned for her novel The Lovely Bones, which sold millions of copies, centered on sexual assault.
Anthony J. Broadwater, a man convicted of the attack, always claimed he was innocent. On Monday, he was released as a state judge because his lawyer and Onondaga County Attorney agreed that the proceedings against him were severely flawed.
“It’s been a long time,” Broadwater, 61, said in an interview Tuesday, recalling the long-standing stigma and isolation he faced as a registered sex offender.
After spending 16 years in prison, he got married and looked for a job, but was cut off because of a conviction.
“With my hands, I can count the people I allowed to decorate their home and dinner, and I don’t exceed ten,” he said. “It’s very traumatic for me.”
The attack took place when Mr. Sebald was a freshman at Syracuse University. In a memoir published in 1999, she wrote about how she immediately told campus security about the attack and went to the police.
After the evidence was collected from the rape kit, she explained the perpetrator’s characteristics to the police, but she wrote that the resulting synthetic sketch did not resemble him.
Mr. Broadwater was arrested five months after Mr. Sebald overtook him on the street and contacted police.
However, she identified another man as her attacker in the police lineup. In her memoirs, she writes that Mr. Broadwater and the man next to him were similar and she felt she had chosen the wrong man shortly after she made her choice. She later identified Mr. Broadwater in court.
Sebald used Broadwater’s fictional name in his memoirs to identify him as Gregory Madison.
Defendant lawyers J. David Hammond and Melissa K. Swarts have confirmed the identity of Mr. Sebald’s Broadwater in court and analyzed the hair under a microscope, which is no longer trusted, in a motion to withdraw the conviction. He wrote that he depended only on the method.
They also claimed that the prosecution’s illegal activity was a factor in the police lineup — the prosecutor told Sebald, and Broadwater and the man next to him deliberately lined up together to fool her. He misrepresented him as a friend who appeared in — and it had an improper influence on Mr Sebald’s subsequent testimony.
The motion to withdraw the conviction was joined by William J. Fitzpatrick, a lawyer in the Onondaga County district. He said the identities of strangers, especially those who cross racial boundaries, are often unreliable. Mr. Sebald is white and Mr. Broadwater is black.
“I’m not going to pollute these proceedings by saying’I’m sorry’,” Fitzpatrick said in court on Monday. “It doesn’t cut it. This should never have happened.”
Judge Gordon J. Cuffy of the State Supreme Court agreed and overturned the conviction of Mr. Broadwater’s first-class rape and five related charges. He is no longer classified as a sex offender.
A spokesman for Scrivener, who published “Lucky,” said Sebald did not comment on the decision. A spokeswoman said the publisher has no plans to update the text.
The planned movie version of “Lucky” served to raise doubts about the proceedings against Mr. Broadwater.
Timothy Mucciante worked as executive producer of the “Lucky” script, but after noticing the inconsistency between the memoirs and the script, he began to question the story that the film was based earlier this year. ..
“I began to question some questions about the story of Alice not hanging with her in the second part of her book about the trial, not the tragic story she told about her assault.” Said Mucciante in an interview.
Mucciante said he was leaving production in June because of his skepticism about the incident and how it was portrayed.
He worked for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office for 20 years, hired private detective Dan Myers, who retired as a detective in 2020, to investigate evidence against Broadwater and convinced him of his innocence.
Myers suggested that the evidence collected be submitted to a lawyer and recommended Hammond. Hammond reviewed the investigation and agreed that there was a strong proceeding. Around the same time, Broadwater decided to hire Hammond on the recommendation of another local lawyer.
Released in 1998, Broadwater was making money and saving money to hire lawyers one after another to prove his innocence.
He and his wife Elizabeth wanted a child, but he said they felt they couldn’t give the stigma of his beliefs.
Broadwater recalled that he had just returned to Syracuse from Stint, who was in the Marine Corps of California when he was arrested. He was 20 at the time.
He said he went home because his father was ill. His father’s health deteriorated during the trial and he died shortly after Mr Broadwater was sent to jail.
“I hope Mr. Sebald goes forward and apologizes, saying,’Hey, I made a serious mistake,'” said Broadwater.
“I sympathize with her,” he said. “But she was wrong.”
Sheila McNeil Contributed to the research.