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Alice Sebold’s 1999 memoir Fortunate detailed her rape as a freshman at Syracuse in Might of 1981. Her alleged rapist was convicted in 1982. A choose cleared that man, Anthony Broadwater, now 61, of that conviction on Monday due to vital flaws within the prosecution and considerations that the flawed man had been convicted and imprisoned.
Within the ebook, Sebold writes about how months after the assault, she was strolling down the road and noticed a Black man that she felt was her rapist. Within the ebook, she writes concerning the encounter: “’Hey woman,” he stated. ‘Don’t I do know you from someplace?’”
She was certain it was him. Sebold went to the police however didn’t know the person’s title. One of many officers talked about Broadwater had been within the space. After his arrest, Sebold was not capable of decide him out of a lineup and as a substitute recognized another person. Regardless of that, Broadwater was tried and convicted on two items of proof: Sebold’s testimony, and knowledgeable testimony about microscopic hair evaluation tying him to the rape. The latter has been known as “junk science” by the US Division of Justice. Scientific advances have weakened the importance and use of hair evaluation, notably earlier than the early Nineteen Nineties.
“Sprinkle some junk science onto a defective identification and it’s the proper recipe for a wrongful conviction,” Broadwater’s legal professional, David Hammond, informed the Submit-Customary.
After his launch in 1999, Broadwater stayed on New York’s intercourse offender registry, and he labored as a trash collector and handyman. He informed the AP that the conviction hampered his job alternatives and impaired his relationships with household and pals. When he obtained married, he even selected to not have youngsters as a result of he felt so stigmatized.
After the conviction was overturned, Broadwater sobbed with aid, overcome with emotion. He informed the AP, “I’ve been crying tears of pleasure and aid the final couple of days. I’m so elated, the chilly can’t even preserve me chilly.”
Sebold has additionally written the novels The Beautiful Bones and The Virtually Moon. The Beautiful Bones, which is concerning the rape and homicide of a teenage woman, was made right into a film. Fortunate was within the strategy of being filmed which explains that Broadwater’s conviction was overturned.
Tim Mucciante, the manager producer of the movie, turned skeptical of Broadwater’s guilt as a result of the primary draft of the script was so completely different than the novel. He was making an attempt to determine why and began exploring. After he dropped out of the undertaking, he employed a personal investigator, who put him in contact with Hammond and one other protection lawyer.
It’s not clear what’s going to occur to the movie adaptation of Fortunate, with Broadwater’s exoneration.
In her memoir, Sebold writes, after discovering out she picked the flawed man out of the lineup, that the protection would say “A panicked white woman noticed a black [sic] man on the road. He spoke familiarly to her and in her thoughts she linked this to her rape. She was accusing the flawed man.”
Sebold has not commented on the case and there was no response to messages despatched to her writer and literary company.
A Black man serving time for sexual assault is 3.5 instances extra prone to be harmless than a white sexual assault convict. A serious reason for that is misidentification of Black defendants by white victims. In half of all sexual assault exonerations attributable to mistaken identification, the defendant is Black and the sufferer is white; this occurs in about 11 p.c of all sexual assaults within the US. Black people are additionally seven instances extra prone to be wrongfully convicted of homicide than white people.
In case you are a survivor and want assist, RAINN is a nationwide useful resource. They may also be reached 24/7 at 800-656-HOPE.