Man Falsely Accused of Rape by ‘Lovely Bones’ Author Receives $5.5 Million Settlement
The State of New York will compensate Anthony J. Broadwater with a payment of $5.5 million after the jury mistakenly found him guilty of raping renowned author Alice Sebold.
Broadwater, now 62, spent 16 years in prison for the crime committed in 1981. The story began in 2009 when Alice Sebold, the author of “The Lovely Bones,” accused Anthony Broadwater of raping her in 1981.
The jury convicted Broadwater of the crime, and spent 16 years in prison before his release in 2001 due to DNA evidence.
Sebold’s accusation, however, came more than 25 years after the alleged incident and was based on a photograph of Broadwater that she saw in a lineup. There was no other evidence linking Broadwater to the crime.
Broadwater was arrested and charged with the crime despite the lack of evidence. He was put through a trial and convicted based on Sebold’s testimony.
Breaking News: New York agreed to pay $5.5 million to Anthony Broadwater, the man who spent 16 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of raping the author Alice Sebold. https://t.co/AqjV7JBbiM pic.twitter.com/wf8gFspj2d
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 27, 2023
He maintained his innocence and continued to do so after his release from prison.
Broadwater Proved His Innocence
In 2016, Broadwater filed a lawsuit against Sebold and the City of Syracuse, New York, where the crime allegedly occurred.
In the case, Broadwater claimed that Sebold had fabricated the accusation. The police and prosecutors had ignored evidence that would have exonerated him.
He also claimed that the accusation had destroyed his life. He had been unable to find employment or housing because of his criminal record.
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The case went to trial in 2021, and during the trial, Sebold admitted that she had lied about the rape.
She claimed that she was traumatized by a separate incident and had falsely accused Broadwater in an attempt to regain control over her life. The jury favored Broadwater and awarded him a $5.5 million settlement.
Broadwater said, “I am grateful for what Attorney General Letitia James has done. I hope that others in my situation can be granted the same measure of justice. We all suffer from destroyed lives.”
New York state has agreed to pay $5.5 Million to a man who was wrongfully convicted of rape… Anthony Broadwater spent 16 years in prison for the rape of award-winning novelist Alice Sebold when she was a student at Syracuse University in 1981. pic.twitter.com/wnYIh7QEkW
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) March 28, 2023
Anthony Broadwater’s lawyer, Melissa Swartz, stated that the lawsuit that Broadwater filed due to his wrongful conviction ended through a settlement agreement.
Swartz expressed her excitement to have the case behind them and shared that the settlement will offer Broadwater some financial stability for now.
Additionally, Swartz appreciated that the Attorney General’s office chose not to depose Anthony, which they found to be a kind gesture.
According to a statement given to PEOPLE, Attorney General James expressed that Broadwater was wrongly convicted and imprisoned despite being innocent.
Another Big Win for Justice
Although no one can undo the events of more than 40 years ago, James believes that the settlement agreement is crucial in providing some form of justice to Anthony Broadwater.
The case has drawn attention to the issue of false accusations and their impact on innocent individuals. As in Broadwater’s case, false accusations can ruin lives. These can undermine legitimate accusations’ credibility.
They can also divert attention and resources away from actual cases of sexual assault and rape. It leads to a failure of justice.
After the jury cleared him of the charges, Sebold expressed regret to Broadwater and those who supported him.
Although he has forgiven her, on the condition that her apology was genuine and heartfelt, he has not read her memoir.
Broadwater explained that he couldn’t read it. He did not want his mind clouded by Sebold’s account of her experience or any allegations she may have made against him.
He emphasized that he had no involvement in the incident. Anthony Broadwater was a 20-year-old Marine in 1981 when someone falsely accused him of raping Sebold, an 18-year-old freshman at Syracuse University.