Thursday, 08 Jun 2023

Man falsely convicted of raping writer Alice Sebold settles lawsuit against New York

Man falsely convicted of raping writer Alice Sebold settles lawsuit against New York


Man falsely convicted of raping writer Alice Sebold settles lawsuit against New York

A man who spent 16 years in prison after he was wrongfully convicted of raping writer Alice Sebold when she was a Syracuse University student has settled a lawsuit against New York state for $5.5m, his lawyers said on Monday.

Sebold was an 18-year-old first-year student at Syracuse when she was raped in a park near campus in May 1981. She described the attack and the ensuing prosecution in a memoir, Lucky, published in 1999.

Sebold, who is white, wrote in Lucky that she spotted a Black man in the street months after being raped and was sure that he was her attacker.

Police arrested Broadwater, who was given the pseudonym Gregory Madison in Lucky, but Sebold failed to identify him in a police lineup, picking a different man as her attacker.

Broadwater was nonetheless tried and convicted in 1982 after Sebold identified him as her rapist on the witness stand and an expert said microscopic hair analysis had tied him to the crime. That type of analysis has since been deemed junk science by the US Department of Justice.

Broadwater was released from prison in 1999 but still had to register as a sex offender until his conviction was vacated in November 2021.

William Fitzpatrick, the current district attorney for Onondaga county, the central New York county that includes Syracuse, joined the motion to vacate the conviction, noting that witness identifications, particularly across racial lines, are often unreliable.

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