A man who served 16 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of raping author Alice Sebold while she was a student at Syracuse University has settled a case against New York State for $5.5 million, his attorneys said Monday.
The settlement comes after Anthony Broadwater’s conviction for the 1981 rape of Sebold was overturned in 2021.
The settlement was signed last week by attorneys for Broadwater and New York Attorney General Letitia James, one of Broadwater’s attorneys, David Hammond said.
Broadwater, 62, said in a statement from Hammond: “I appreciate what Attorney General James has done, and I hope and pray that others in my situation can achieve the same measure of justice. We all suffer from destroyed lives.”
“It is clear that no amount of money can remedy the injustices suffered by Mr. Broadwater, but they are now officially recognized by the settlement,” Sebold said in a statement released through a spokesman.
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Sebold was an 18-year-old freshman at Syracuse when she was raped in a park near campus in May 1981. She detailed the attack and subsequent allegation in her memoir, Lucky, published in 1999.
Sebold is best known for his 2002 novel The Lovely Bones, which chronicles the aftermath of the rape and murder of a teenage girl and was made into a film starring Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci.
Sebold, who is white, wrote in “Lucky” that months after her rape she saw a black man on the street and was sure he was her attacker.
Police arrested Broadwater, who was given the alias Gregory Madison in Lucky. But Sebold does not recognize him in the police presence and chooses another man as the attacker.
However, Broadwater was tried and convicted in 1982 after Sebold identified him on the witness stand as her rapist and an expert said microscopic analysis of the hair linked Broadwater to the crime.
Since then, this type of analysis has been considered junk science by the US Department of Justice.
Broadwater was released from prison in 1999. However, he still had to register as a sex offender until his conviction was overturned in November 2021.