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Author Alice Sebold apologises to man wrongly jailed for raping her



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,079 ✭✭✭ mcmoustache

    Probably multiple black people in the lineup made it hard to pick him out. In court, he might have been the only black guy in front of the judge. He probably had hand-cuffs and a jumpsuit on too, making him easy to pick out.

  • Registered Users Posts: 367 ✭✭ 72sheep

    Exactly this. No doubt she was admired for her bravery in publishing such a raw memoir at the time. But no one demanded this book, she got it wrong, he suffered and so she should make full reparations. (I have no doubt she, and her husband, can create another NYT Bestseller about this new chapter.)

  • She is brave and beautiful and must be believed. It's also sad that a man was in jail but it wasn't her fault. She is the victim. The man too was a victim of sorts.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 21,874 ✭✭✭✭ Strumms


    if she didn’t know... as in 1000% sure she shouldn’t have picked him out... she did... now may she face the consequences.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,807 ✭✭✭ Hangdogroad

    He was apparently the only black person in the courtroom, in an article I read about it over the weekend.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Education Moderators Posts: 26,772 CMod ✭✭✭✭ spurious

    The hair analysis would have been the clincher for me (had I been on the jury). Identified by the victim? Maybe. Hair strand match? Slam dunk.

    Now though it appears there was something dodgy about the hair 'match' as testified to by the FBI folk.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭ The J Stands for Jay

    Nah, she must be poor. Bestselling books that are adapted as movies don't generate much cash.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,314 ✭✭✭ The J Stands for Jay

    Everyone's memory is unreliable. Ban memoirs! Burn existing memoirs!

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Will she give him any money from the book she wrote ?.…...just to make it up to him ? .....she wanted justice at any cost and got it...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,438 ✭✭✭ notAMember

    Victims are not the judges, prosecutors, police, defense or juries in criminal cases, they are merely witnesses.

    People with no experience of court have an idealised notion of how it works. The victims words are taken with all the other evidence presented. By design... because we know that victims don't remember things well and are traumatised.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Backpedaling comes to mind ...sorry ...and movie was in the works ?? She's certainly doing better than some that have had the same thing happen to them

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,851 ✭✭✭ RabbleRouser2k

    That genuinely frustrated me too. I wasn't ever accused of a false rape allegation, thank hell. But I was accused of something that nearly got me evicted. (Someone accused me of noise pollution, despite the accuser going on drinking binges, every few days, and screaming and shouting abuse at all hours of the morning.) No amount of witnesses, it seemed, would convince my landlord that I wasn't the problem. I took recordings of the person yelling, audio recordings of my place at night, nightly, to prove how it wasn't me that was causing the issue.

    Finally had to go get legal advice. (This, despite the accuser being evicted, and no further complaints close to a year later).

    I saw someone else (male) talking about how he was in an abusive relationship (with a woman) who gave him all sorts of abuse. Then made accusations towards him to people. He then proceeded to tell people 'believe women'.

    IF people had 'believed women', he'd have been locked up in prison. Folks jumped on the 'Amber Heard is a victim' bandwagon... and then more and more details came out about Johnny Depp, and the abuse he suffered... and there were lots of apologies on twitter. They are useless to him. His name's been dragged through the mud.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,438 ✭✭✭ notAMember

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,727 ✭✭✭ Nozebleed

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,079 ✭✭✭ mcmoustache

    That'll be it then. She was raped by a black guy and he was the only black guy in the court. She wasn't going to identify one of the white guys in there as her attacker. It could only have been the black man.

    I assume that was her logic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 463 ✭✭ The Quintessence Model

    Tell me you've never been falsely accused without telling me you've been falsely accused.

    Did you read this post:

    'The issue here is that she chose to take the stand and put and innocent man away without being sure it was him. Regardless of police input.

    In her memoir she claimed that he was standing next to someone who looked identical to him. I've seen the picture and I'm not sure how he would be described as identical.

    She took the stand and said with certainty it was Broadwater who did it - knowing that she couldn't be certain. That was a knowning false testimony that she chose to give.

    Worse again, she lied in her memoir about him having a criminal record - when he didn't.

    She also told another lie about him sending a hit man after her friend.

    So we know for certain that she lied three times.

    She built a career built off both conscious lies and truths that she cannot be sure were truths.'

    She's made a lot of money off lying. Being a victim of rape doesn't exonerate her of this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,641 ✭✭✭ joseywhales

    I wouldn't have thought "beyond reasonable doubt" is satisfied by a hair and a lineup. The real issue here is the adversarial nature of the attorney general/prosecution in the us. They honestly don't care if they find the truth, their job is to get a conviction. That seems like the problem to me.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,215 ✭✭✭ thefallingman

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,851 ✭✭✭ RabbleRouser2k

    'You've never experienced this, therefore you don't deserve an opinion'... gimme a break. Really, that's just ridiculous. That's like saying 'You've never murdered someone, so you can't say murder is wrong'.

    She told quite a few lies, including allegations that he'd hired someone to hurt a friend. That was completely of her own doing. Again, I genuinely believe she was raped. That's not in question. No doubt in my mind.

    But she admitted, in her own book, to lying under oath. She didn't believe it was him, even picking the wrong person initially, and having doubts.

    As for bringing up her sexual past... by her own account, there wasn't any sexual partners. Her first sexual encounter was a rape. That's a horrifying thing to think of, but that's sadly what happened.

    There's an Oscar winning documentary called 'Murder on a Sunday morning'. It concerns a black teenager falsely accused of a robbery and murder. The police are pushing for a conviction, even bullying( nay torturing) the young guy into giving and signing a false confession. Lawyers fight to prevent his conviction. The police officers (diverse, including one black officer, who, by all accounts, was the worst. Literally punched the kid in the gut and said ''N-words' like you give us all a bad name') were out to get a conviction, despite him not looking anything like the accused (the correct person is finally tracked down and arrested. He makes an appearance at the end of the doc.)

    Even the husband of the victim is pushing for this teen to be the person-he's angry, wants someone to pay, despite him being innocent and not matching his own description that was given to the police. (For example, the clothing of the accused is a blank, tee-shirt. Whilst the person he claims shot his wife was wearing a very colourful, graffiti-like font tee-shirt.)

    The reason I bring up this documentary is because, frankly, two wrongs do not make a right. Ms Sebold was clearly wronged. But sending the wrong man to prison was not making it right (especially when she doubted he was the right person). And he still would be labelled as a sexual predator if not for someone doing the incredibly decent thing of looking into the case after finding discrepancies. They put their own money forward. They weren't going to profit from this (in fact, they lost money by doing this.). If they had gotten back the same result (as in he was guilty, as more evidence was unearthed) I'd be saying the same thing. Very decent of him to do-in that he now confirmed it was true, and thus Sebold was left with no doubts.

    Instead the case has gone cold. We know this guy is innocent, now. And all evidence relating to the case (including the rape kit) has been destroyed. As have the records. The real rapist, potentially, remains at large. Or, he may have raped other women, and served time for this. We don't know.

    And contrary to your opinion, I do genuinely pity her too. She never got justice. The man who violated her walked free. For all she knows she walked past him every day for the rest of her time in Syracuse. That's a horrifying thing to imagine.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,219 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe

    Did she build the prosecution case?

    Did she act as his defence?

    Was she the judge?

    No. She was a traumatised victim who made a bloody horrific mistake but she did not bring in a guilty verdict.

    Where was his defense team? Why are they not being vilified here?

    Who was the judge?

    Who was the prosecutor?

    What in that post you quoted states what happened at trial - most of it is a kangaroo court of the original rape victim and how its all her fault. Talk about being falsely accused. Reading that post it seems she brought in the guilty verdict all by herself.

    There were massive failures that robbed a man of years of his life. The justice system made the vast majority of those failures, but sure, lets pile all the blame on a traumatised young women who effed up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 463 ✭✭ The Quintessence Model

    You are asking questions that you already know the answer to, and you yourself answering said questions. Why?

    She lied following the trial in her book,so she profited off lias. The prosecution are of course to blame, but I'm talking about actions after the trial, and the fact that she lied under oath.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 19,219 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Bannasidhe

    Have you considered what was going on in the background that led her to lie?

    Did she just decide that all on her own or was she advised? Did the Prosecution know she lied as you put it? Did the Defense know she picked someone else out in the line out? Was she challenged at all?

    Her testimony was part of a body of evidence presented - not the whole of the case. She bared some responsibility absolutely. I am not denying that for a second. But people here should put away the bloody pitchforks and ask how can an innocent person be convicted on such flimsy evidence?

  • Registered Users Posts: 463 ✭✭ The Quintessence Model

    I've got no pitchforks out. I dislike somebody profiting off lies.

    As the poster above said: 'She told quite a few lies, including allegations that he'd hired someone to hurt a friend. That was completely of her own doing.' You have yet to comment on this aspect.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Poor guy. Of course rape is one of the worst things that can happen to someone, but this man's story is separate to that, and it kinda seems like it's being downplayed with the "they're both victims" thing. Separate situations. He's a victim of a gross miscarriage of justice - she isn't. That doesn't take away from what was done to her, but it's a different situation. I blame the prosecution mostly but you have to be so sure and certain before helping condemn someone to a prison sentence. Even if you're not thinking straight - well that doesn't cut it where possible lengthy jail time is concerned.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,752 ✭✭✭ alastair_doom

    Do we know she made this stuff up, and it wasn't misinformation fed to her to encourage the prosecution?

  • Do we know she didn't?

    Did she admit to lying under oath?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,752 ✭✭✭ alastair_doom

    For some reason I thought you mind actually be in favour of giving people the benefit of the doubt :)

    She may have been wrong in court but noone is suggesting it was deliberate attempt to deceive. No idea if she has made any statement since he was exonerated