The New York man wrongfully convicted of raping “The Lovely Bones” author Alice Sebold will receive a $5.5 million settlement.
Anthony J. Broadwater served 16 years for the 1981 sexual assault he did not commit. At the time, Broadwater was a 20-year-old Marine, and Sebold was an 18-year-old college student at Syracuse University. Initially, Sebold identified a different man as her attacker. However, Broadwater was still arrested and tried. During her court testimony, Debold claimed Broadwater was the man who raped her, despite stating he was not when questioned by police. The man maintained his innocence but was ultimately ordered to serve between eight and 25 years.
After his release in 1999, Broadwater was forced to register as a sex offender. It was not until 2021 that his conviction was vacated. He then began seeking justice for his unjustified incarceration. Meanwhile, Sebold continued her career as a bestselling author. After Broadwater’s conviction was overturned, Sebold apologized to him, referring to herself as a “traumatized 18-year-old rape victim” who had faith in the justice system.
Broadwater’s attorney Melissa Swartz, says they are pleased that the state of New York opted to do the right thing by granting the settlement. In addition, Broadwater filed a federal civil rights complaint against the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County, the assistant district attorney, and a police officer who aided in his conviction. That case remains ongoing.
Attorney General Letitia James called the settlement a “critical step” in offering some relief for the wrongdoing bestowed upon Broadwater, who is now 62. In his own statement, Broadwater shared that he hopes other wrongfully convicted inmates can eventually regain their freedom.