How would you feel when your whole journey to justice ruins the life of one innocent person? That's how Alice Sebold (b. Sept. 6, 1963) feels right now when she knew that the person she was venging against almost her life was innocent all along, and she instead becomes the culprit for ruining almost four decades of his life.
Born in Madison, Wisconsin, to a teacher father, Russell Sebold, and journalist mother, Jane Sebold, she has an elder sister named Mary. Sebold graduated from Great Valley High School and later passed Bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and earned an MFA from the University of California, Irvine.
Alice, who was assaulted and raped at the age of 18 years old, wrote a memoir of the incident called Lucky. The award-winning author wrongly accused a black man named Anthony Broadwater who she thought to be her rapist. Broadwater served 16 years in prison and a further 23 years as New York's sex offender before he was exonerated on 22 November 2021.
Sebold's Memoir, 'Lucky', Which Kickstarted Her Career Ruined the Life Of Innocent Anthony Broadwater
Alice Sebold published her memoir, Lucky, based on her rape in 1981 when she was an 18-year-old freshman at Syracuse University. She was assaulted and raped while walking home from a friend's house through a tunnel to an amphitheater near campus.
Sebold released her book towards the end of the millennium.
Photo Credit: Rose Hartman, Getty Images
The rapist even beat her when she tried to fight her, was savagely raped and took her virginity, forced to kiss the man who then urinated on her and eventually left her to crawl away. As being raped was enough to break her, she even had to defend herself against her father's unthinking callousness (“If it had to happen to one of you, I’m glad it was you and not your sister”).
Not to forget she had to face the judgments of the society who blamed her for this horrific incident. This incident left her traumatized for almost ten years of her life, as she became depressed, suffered from nightmares, drank heavily, and snorted heroin.
After five months of the rape, she encountered a man in Syracuse town center whom she believed to be the rapist. The police then arrested Anthony Broadwater, and he served almost 16 years of life in prison before his conviction was overturned on November 22, 2021, after prosecutors reexamined the case and determined there were serious flaws in his arrest and trial.
Sebold published Lucky in 1999 sold more than one million copies and propelled her career as an author. The same book later book helped Broadwater to prove his innocence to the world after the producer working on a Netflix adaptation of Sebold's memoir found inconsistencies in the story.
Who Wronged Anthony Broadwater, Alice Sebold, or Justice System?
Anthony Broadwater, who was then 20 years old at the time, had just returned to the town after a stint as a marine because his father was very sick but was accused of rape, and served 16 years of false imprisonment. He was denied parole five times for not admitting his crime and even remained on New York's sex offender registry following his release from prison in 1999.
Broadwater was convicted of a crime he never committed which ruined four decades of his life. His wrongful conviction came to light after an executive producer working on a Netflix film adaptation of Lucky raised questions over the case and later hired a private investigator.
Broadwater was tried and convicted in 1982 based largely on two pieces of evidence (i.e. 1. Sebold identified him as her rapist 2. hair sample evidence later disproven as junk science). However, Sebold has clearly admitted failing to pick Anthony out in a police line-up, selecting another man.
Broadwater was stripped off of his most productive years due to the wrongful accusation.
Photo Credit: Katrina Tulloch, The Post-Standard via AP
Broadwater's exoneration would probably not have come out if not for the executive producer, Tim Mucciante, who was working on the Netflix film adaptation of Sebold’s bestselling book, Lucky, and his eye for noticing inconsistencies in the story. He then hired a private investigator and ultimately helped Anthony prove his innocence to the world on November 22, 2021.
After eight days of his exoneration, Sebold finally released an apology statement saying, "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".
However, people found her apology fake as it was missing the important elements of truth and accountability. Some even said that she is trying to distance herself from the man who was wrongfully convicted as she did not even take accountability for her mistake only blaming “systemic issues in our judicial system.”
Lucky publisher, Scribner, also released a statement following Broadwater's exoneration that distribution of all formats of the book would cease while Sebold and the publisher determined how to revise the work. Broadwater also accepted her apology saying that he is “relieved that she has apologized.”
However, her apology is nothing in front of the sufferings Anthony faced in the 40+ years of his wrongful conviction. The 61-year-old victim lost his father shortly after he was sentenced to jail. Even after marrying a woman who believed in his innocence, Broadwater never wanted to have children as he was scared of how his children would have to suffer from this injustice.
He struggled to find a job after his release from prison and worked as a trash hauler and a handyman for years. While Sebold lived a lavish life in her $6 million home in San Francisco making millions off a memoir, Broadwater and his wife lived in a small apartment in a building that during his exoneration was using a tarp as windows to protect them from the cold.
Meanwhile, Broadwater will star in a documentary, Unlucky chronicling his journey from wrongful conviction to exoneration which will be produced by none other than Timothy Mucciante. The film's title Unlucky is paradoxical to the title of Sebold's memoir, Lucky which netted her millions of dollars. As per custom in documentaries, Anthony won't be compensated for participating in the film but at the very least he would get to reclaim his story.
How Much Is the Net Worth of Alice Sebold?
As per estimating sources, Alice Seblod holds a net worth of around $2 million. Her career as a writer kicked off with her memoir, Lucky in 1999 which chronicles her experience as a rape survivor and describes every aspect of the incident in graphic detail. The title of her memoir stemmed from a conversation with a police officer who told her that Sebold was “lucky” as another girl had recently been raped, murdered, and dismembered in the same tunnel.
Sebold became more expressive since committing to writing her first book.
Photo Credit: Paul Marotta, Getty Images
Lucky became a best-selling memoir and was sold more than one million copies and is estimated to help her earn $3 million. The film adaptation of this memoir was announced in 2019, which, however, got canceled after losing its fund in mid-2021.
Sebold also published her second book called The Lovely Bones in 2002 which is also a novel about the story of a teenage girl who is raped and murdered at age 14. The Lovely Bones became an overnight success, selling two and a half million copies in hardcover—a record for a first novel. This novel remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for over one year, sold over 10 million copies, and has been translated into 40 languages.
The Lovely Bones won the Bram Stoker Award and the Heartland Prize in 2002, and the American Booksellers Association's Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction in 2003. This best-seller novel was also adapted into a movie of the same name by the director, Peter Jackson, starring Saoirse Ronan, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, and Rachel Weisz in 2010.
Her second novel, Almost Noon also continues a key theme of her two other books in describing acts of violence. The novel was published in 2007 which is a story of a suburban woman living in Pennsylvania who kills her elderly mother in a fit of rage.
Well, it was not like Sebold became an overnight successful writer in a short span of time. The Lovely Bones author struggled for years writing tons of bad poems and novels before she finally got her big break. During that time, she also worked as a caretaker of the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, earning $386 a month and living in a cabin in the woods without electricity. Besides, she was an adjunct instructor in English at Hunter College.
Is Alice Sebold Dating Anyone? Why Did She Divorce Her Ex-husband, Glen David Gold?
Alice Sebold was married to an American novelist, memoirist, and screenwriter, Glen David Gold for more than a decade before they divorced in the year 2012. The former couple first met at the University of California in Irvine where Alice was pursuing a master’s degree in fine arts.
As she turned into an author, Sebold found another writer for her ex-husband.
Photo Credit: Gregg DeGuire, WireImage
Gold, author of the bestselling novels, Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, showed up late for class and even would not take off his motorcycle helmet. Drawn to this particular gesture, Alice began talking to him and eventually fell in love and got married in November 2001.
The pair spent the next few years of their life together until they parted ways in 2012. As of now, the former love birds have not revealed the exact reason for their split. Talking about Glen, he had long moved on in his life and has been together with a Pilates instructor, Sara Shay, for nearly nine years now. Prior to Gold, Sebold had flings with countless drunkards which she says she is not proud of.
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