Sebold, who wrote the bestselling The Lovely Bones, picked out Broadwater as her rapist in court and he was subsequently sentenced to 16 years in prison. He continued to profess his innocence and he was exonerated of the crime in court last week.
In a post of blogging platform Medium, Sebold wrote: “First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through. I am sorry most of all for the fact that the life you could have led was unjustly robbed from you, and I know that no apology can change what happened to you and never will.”
Sebold, who wrote about her experience of rape in her memoir, Lucky, added: “As a traumatised 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice – not to perpetuate injustice.”
The author continued: “I am grateful that Mr Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he became another young Black man brutalised by our flawed legal system. I will forever be sorry for what was done to him.”
A film adaptation of Lucky was in the works with You actor Victoria Pedretti but financing for the movie was pulled after Broadwater’s conviction was overturned.
Timothy Mucciante, a producer on the film adaptation, noticed discrepancies in the section of the book that describes the trial. He eventually left the project and hired a private investigator to review the evidence against Broadwater.
A New York Supreme Court justice found that the conviction of Broadwater relied heavily on Sebold’s testimony and the since discredited method of microscopic hair analysis.
Following his exoneration, Broadwater told The New York Times: “I sympathise with her but she was wrong.”
If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organisation for specialist, independent and confidential support. For more information, visit their website here.