40-Year-Old Rape Conviction at Center of Alice Sebold’s Memoir is Thrown Out by New York Judge

Anthony Broadwater, who remained on New York’s sex offender registry after finishing his prison term in 1999, is seen in court on Monday. (Katrina Tulloch/The Post-Standard via AP)

A New York judge has overturned a 40-year-old rape conviction at the center of a memoir by award-winning novelist Alice Sebold due to flaws in the prosecution.

Anthony Broadwater, who spent 16 years behind bars, shook with emotion and broke down in tears Monday when a judge overturned his conviction for raping Sebold while she was a student at Syracuse University.

Sebold, who is best known as the author of the 2002 novel “The Lovely Bones,” described her experience of being raped and beaten when she was 18 in her 1999 memoir, “Lucky.”

“I never, ever, ever thought I would see the day that I would be exonerated,” Broadwater, 61, said after his court appearance in Syracuse on Monday, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported.

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told the judge that Broadwater’s prosecution was an injustice.

“I’m not going to sully this proceeding by saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ That doesn’t cut it. This should never have happened,” he said.

The DA apologized to Broadwater, who remained on New York’s sex offender registry after finishing his prison term in 1999, privately before the court hearing.

“When he spoke to me about the wrong that was done to me, I couldn’t help but cry,” Broadwater said. “The relief that a district attorney of that magnitude would side with me in this case, it’s so profound, I don’t know what to say.”

In her memoir, Sebold, now 58, described being raped as a freshman in May 1981 while walking home through a park near campus.

When she reported the crime to police, they told her that a young woman had once been murdered and dismembered at the same spot — so they said she was “lucky.”

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SOURCE: New York Post, Yaron Steinbuch

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