Man Is Exonerated in Rape Case Described in Alice Sebold’s Memoir

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Anthony J. Broadwater was convicted of the 1981 onslaught successful Syracuse, N.Y., successful a lawsuit the territory lawyer and a authorities justice agreed was flawed.

Anthony J. Broadwater reacted arsenic  a justice  overturned his astir   40-year-old condemnation  for rape. He spent 16 years successful  prison.
Credit...Katrina Tulloch/The Post-Standard, via Associated Press

Nov. 23, 2021Updated 8:40 p.m. ET

The rape took spot successful a Syracuse, N.Y., parkland successful 1981 and was described successful earthy item successful a memoir published astir 20 years aft it occurred, arsenic the antheral convicted of the transgression struggled to rebuild his beingness aft his merchandise from prison.

The book, titled “Lucky,” launched the vocation of the writer Alice Sebold, who aboriginal roseate to planetary fame with “The Lovely Bones,” a caller that besides centers connected intersexual battle and sold millions of copies.

The antheral who was convicted of the attack, Anthony J. Broadwater, had ever maintained helium was innocent. On Monday, helium was exonerated, arsenic a authorities judge, his defence lawyers and the Onondaga County territory lawyer agreed that the lawsuit against him had been woefully flawed.

“It’s a agelong time coming,” Mr. Broadwater, 61, said successful an interrogation connected Tuesday, recalling the years of stigma and isolation helium faced arsenic a registered enactment offender.

He got joined and sought enactment aft spending 16 years successful prison, but recovered himself chopped disconnected from opportunities due to the fact that of the conviction.

“On my 2 hands, I tin number the radical that allowed maine to grace their homes and dinners, and I don’t get past 10,” helium said. “That’s precise traumatic to me.”

The onslaught took spot erstwhile Ms. Sebold was a freshman astatine Syracuse University. She writes successful her memoir, which was published successful 1999, astir however she told field information astir the onslaught close distant and went to the police.

After grounds was collected from a rape kit, she described her assailant’s features to the police, but the resulting composite sketch didn’t lucifer him, she wrote.

Mr. Broadwater was arrested 5 months later, aft Ms. Sebold passed him connected the thoroughfare and contacted the police, saying she whitethorn person seen her attacker.

But she identified a antithetic antheral arsenic her attacker successful a constabulary lineup. In her memoir, she writes that Mr. Broadwater and the antheral adjacent to him looked alike and that moments aft she made her choice, she felt she had picked the incorrect man. She aboriginal identified Mr. Broadwater successful court.

Ms. Sebold utilized a fictitious sanction for Mr. Broadwater successful her memoir, identifying him arsenic Gregory Madison.

In their question to vacate the conviction, the defence lawyers J. David Hammond and Melissa K. Swartz wrote that the lawsuit had relied solely connected Ms. Sebold’s recognition of Mr. Broadwater successful the courtroom and a now-discredited method of microscopic hairsbreadth analysis.

They besides argued that prosecutorial misconduct was a origin during the constabulary lineup — that the authoritative had falsely told Ms. Sebold that Mr. Broadwater and the antheral adjacent to him were friends who had purposely appeared successful the lineup unneurotic to instrumentality her — and that it had improperly influenced Ms. Sebold’s aboriginal testimony.

The question to vacate the condemnation was joined by Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick, who noted that witnesser identifications of strangers, peculiarly those that transverse radical lines, are often unreliable. Ms. Sebold is white, and Mr. Broadwater is Black.

“I’m not going to sully these proceedings by saying, ‘I’m sorry,’” Mr. Fitzpatrick said successful court connected Monday. “That doesn’t chopped it. This should ne'er person happened.”

State Supreme Court Justice Gordon J. Cuffy agreed, and overturned Mr. Broadwater’s condemnation of first-degree rape and 5 related charges. He volition nary longer beryllium categorized arsenic a enactment offender.

Ms. Sebold had nary remark connected the decision, a spokesperson for Scribner, which published “Lucky,” said. The spokesperson said that the steadfast had nary plans to update the text.

A planned film adaptation of “Lucky” played a relation successful raising doubts astir the lawsuit against Mr. Broadwater.

Timothy Mucciante was moving arsenic enforcement shaper of the adaptation of “Lucky,” but began to question the communicative that the movie was based connected earlier this year, aft helium noticed discrepancies betwixt the memoir and the script.

“I started having immoderate doubts, not astir the communicative that Alice told astir her assault, which was tragic, but the 2nd portion of her publication astir the trial, which didn’t bent together,” Mr. Mucciante said successful an interview.

Mr. Mucciante said that helium ended up leaving the accumulation successful June due to the fact that of his skepticism astir the lawsuit and however it was being portrayed.

He hired a backstage investigator, Dan Myers, who spent 20 years moving for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and retired arsenic a detective successful 2020, to look into the grounds against Mr. Broadwater, and became convinced of Mr. Broadwater’s innocence.

Mr. Myers suggested they bring the grounds they gathered to a lawyer and recommended Mr. Hammond, who reviewed the probe and agreed determination was a beardown case. Around the aforesaid time, Mr. Broadwater decided to prosecute Mr. Hammond based connected the proposal of different section lawyer.

Mr. Broadwater, who was released successful 1998, had been scrimping and redeeming to prosecute lawyer aft lawyer to effort and beryllium his innocence.

He said that helium and his wife, Elizabeth, had wanted to person children, but helium felt they could not fixed the stigma of his conviction.

Mr. Broadwater recalled that helium had conscionable returned location to Syracuse from a stint serving successful the Marine Corps successful California erstwhile helium was arrested. He was 20 years aged astatine the time.

He had gone location due to the fact that his begetter was ill, helium said. His father’s wellness worsened during the trial, and helium died soon aft Mr. Broadwater was sent to prison.

“I conscionable anticipation and commune that possibly Ms. Sebold volition travel guardant and say, ‘Hey, I made a sedate mistake,’ and springiness maine an apology,” Mr. Broadwater said.

“I sympathize with her,” helium said. “But she was wrong.”

Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.


Credit...Katrina Tulloch/The Post-Standard, via Associated Press
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