New York Times bestselling author Alice Sebold has developed a reputation for herself in literary circles for her brave narratives such as her 1999 memoir Lucky in which she spoke about the trauma of getting sexually assaulted. However, that sentiment has rapidly changed since it was declared in a court of law that Sebold’s assertions about the identity of her rapist were false.
Lucky was all set for a Netflix adaptation but all such plans have been derailed now because of the overturning of the rape convictions that were levied against Anthony Broadwater who ended up spending 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Sebold had also picked someone other than Broadwater from the police lineup when identifying her assailant and explained it with the racist claim that they looked “almost identical” just because both of them were Black.
After 16 long years, Broadwater finally experienced justice even though he will never get that time back. Thanks to discredited forensic analysis and discrepancies in the narrative, it was possible to clear Broadwater of the criminal allegations. Sebold issued an apology: “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”.
In her memoir, Sebold even went so far as to claim that she knew it was Broadwater beyond any doubt. “He was smiling as he approached. He recognised me. It was a stroll in the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the street… ‘Hey, girl,’ he said. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ I looked directly at him. Knew his face had been the face over me in the tunnel”.
The writer added that she felt extremely disillusioned about the fact that the right person will probably never face the consequences of his crime: “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.”
As for Broadwater, he had completely lost faith in the justice system and never imagined that it was possible for him to get out of this mess. He claimed: “I never, ever, ever thought I would see the day that I would be exonerated.”