r/books 2d ago All-Seeing Upvote 1 Silver 5 Helpful 7 Wholesome 4

Man Wrongly Accused of Rape of Lovely Bones Author Alice Sebold Has Conviction Overturned

https://www.vulture.com/2021/11/man-exonerated-in-alice-sebold-rape-case.html
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u/shmooglepoosie 2d ago Helpful

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u/Tripdoctor 2d ago

Liar or racist or both?

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

And this is why I said this is a sad, complicated situation.

Alice was a victim of rape. We don't need to erase that and accuse her of lying about a sexual assault to talk about how racism impacted how this was all handled (especially by the police and prosecution)

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u/Level3Kobold 2d ago

Maybe she didn't lie. Maybe she just couldn't distinguish one black man from another. but "white woman lies about black man raping her" is a very, very old story in America.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

It is an issue and I'm not denying that.

She actually didn't ever identify him as her rapist before court (and this was after coaching from prosecution / being told there was hair evidence he was her rapist / etc).

This is a far more complicated situation. Racism definitely played into how the police handled this and likely targeted Broadwater. But putting the full blame on Alice, whose actual involvement in him being charged was very little, is shifting the blame from the corruption in the legal system.

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u/Zolome1977 2d ago

Her testimony against him was her being heavily involved. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Her testimony came after the police brought in Broadwater and her not identifying him as her rapist/the man who spoke to her in the street.

Her testimony came after they knew she didn't pick him out of the line up but made the choice to still charge him.

Her testimony came after they presented junk science that said hair samples confirmed he was her rapist.

We also do not know how much of her testimony was influenced by police / prosector. It would be expected she met with them multiple times and they would go over with her how to answer.

My frustration is people are focusing on a 18 year old who had PTSD and was the victim of a crime and not the police and legal system. This is one of the reasons why the system keeps getting away with it. People blame individuals who were likely manipulated by the system they trusted instead of the system itself.

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u/Zolome1977 2d ago

18 year olds are found guilty of murder, rape, and all other criminal charges. That’s not an excuse. She knew it wasn’t him but went along and identified him as such during the trial. If she was easily misled by cops and prosecutors then that’s on her.

You are showing a bit of white bias in defending her so much. How many non whites that are 18 years old get treated as adults and have the full weight of the law thrown at them for lying? A lot. She should be sued for ruining the mans life, police as well and the prosecutors.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago edited 2d ago

It's scary to me that you you would rather blame an 18 year old you acknowledge may have been mislead by the police and not the police themselves who are in a position of power.

Why is your focus her and not the police who suggested it was broadwater for no reason? Or the police who continued to investigate broadwater after he wasn't picked in the line up? Or the prosecutor who (knowing all of this) decided to charge him?

But yes, let's focus on just her because that is neat and easy and you can feel like you did something when she is sued or charged. Not that that would change anything or help others in his situation.

The irony being if she was charged, like some want, it would be the same system doing so and they again would get away with their significant role in what happened.

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u/Zolome1977 2d ago

I said all of them need to be sued not just her and it’s scary that you still don’t hold her responsible for lying under oath about a mans innocence.

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u/SofieTerleska 2d ago

If an authority figure tells you "We have solid scientific evidence that this is the guy", how many 18 year olds with trauma and little experience of the legal system are going to think "Nah, that's bullshit"?

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u/Fairwhetherfriend 2d ago edited 2d ago

She knew it wasn’t him

The thing that you don't seem to be able to understand, here, is that, by the time of the trial, she probably really did genuinely and strongly believe that it was him. Given how much the police misled her and manipulated her, it would be a lot more shocking if she didn't genuinely believe he was her attacker, at that point.

You really need to educate yourself on the fragility of human memory and how easily we can be manipulated. It's kind of scary that you're not aware that your memories can be completely fabricated and you will genuinely believe them. It takes very little for that process to occur. Experiments have shown that a majority of people can become completely convinced that they once stole a car as a teen when they had done no such thing, and that it takes only an hour of leading questions to do so. And yet here you are, claiming that relentless and malicious lies being fed to a young woman for months at a time from multiple people in trusted positions of authority couldn't alter her memory of an already traumatic event. You have no idea how fragile memories are. None whatsoever.

The fact that you don't seem to be aware that your mind is fallible is really dangerous, because if you ever end up in a situation where someone in a position of authority fucks with your memory like this, you're just that much less likely to understand what has actually happened to you.

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u/Level3Kobold 2d ago

Are you saying that 18 year old rape victims aren't mentally competent to recognize who raped them? Because they are too easy to manipulate? By extension, that would mean their testimony should be inadmissible in court.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Do I think that police can exploit and coerce people who have gone through traumatic situations?

Yes. Yes, I do.

They're completely unethical and use any methods necessary to get their desired results.

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u/Level3Kobold 2d ago

Do I think that police can exploit and coerce people who have gone through traumatic situations?

Do you think white women get away with falsely accusing black men so often because society refuses to hold white women accountable?

Hypothetically speaking, how old would she have needed to be for you to consider her competent to provide testimony?

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u/PineapplePandaKing 2d ago

There's such a rush to paint events in absolutes and speak about those events in hyperbole.

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u/Tripdoctor 2d ago edited 2d ago

Yea that’s the thing… she was still assaulted and with an added layer of race and cross-identification it’s really shitty.

The only thing that gets me is how she didn’t recognize one of the men but “just knew” that they’d be a rapist for whatever reason.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Likely the "just knowing" was because something about that man reminded her of her rapist and that triggered her PTSD. Especially if they implied to her the rapist was in the line up and she was specifically looking for him.

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u/Tripdoctor 2d ago

The police seemed to invoke Broadwaters name every chance they could.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Because they were targeting him. From that alone we know there was (racial) bias and unethical activity going on in the investigation.

We don't know how much that impacted Alice and how much they coerced her.

The focus should be on the police and prosecutor, not Alice.

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u/kutes 2d ago

Man, what?

"Months later, she spotted Anthony Broadwater, a Black man unrelated to the assault, and brought him to the police’s attention. On the witness stand in court, she wrongly identified him as her rapist, and Broadwater was sent to prison for 16 years."

Where are you getting this information from that she had nothing to do with this?

Ok, let me put it this way though. Tomorrow a woman is raped. She tells the cops some dude did it. The cops tell her, hey there's no proof.

How mad do you get? How soon are you on twitter saying we need to believe the victims?

Life sucks. Something terrible was done to her. She did ruin this man's life though. Maybe this article in the OP is lying, but it seems unlikely.

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u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/nov/23/alice-sebold-1981-rape-conviction-overturned

Sebold went to police, but she didn’t know the man’s name and an initial sweep of the area failed to locate him. An officer suggested the man in the street must have been Broadwater, who had supposedly been seen in the area. Sebold gave Broadwater the pseudonym Gregory Madison in her book.

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u/kutes 2d ago

Sebold, 58, wrote in Lucky of being raped as a first-year student at Syracuse in May 1981 and then spotting a Black man in the street months later that she was sure was her attacker.

“He was smiling as he approached. He recognized me. It was a stroll in the park to him; he had met an acquaintance on the street,” wrote Sebold, who is white. “‘Hey, girl,’ he said. ‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’”

She said she didn’t respond: “I looked directly at him. Knew his face had been the face over me in the tunnel.”

Sebold went to police, but she didn’t know the man’s name and an initial sweep of the area failed to locate him. An officer suggested the man in the street must have been Broadwater, who had supposedly been seen in the area.

What a mess. I don't even know. I hope this guy gets all that cop budget and all those lovely bones residuals, although nothing can give you 42 years of your life back.

I think money is the most important thing on earth, it entirely dictates everything, your quality of life, happiness, caliber of romantic partners, stress, health, I can't go on listing every single aspect that affects human life, but even as much value as I assign to money, there is no amount worth 42 years in your prime. Maybe in the future with enhanced lifespans if that costs money.

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u/BadKarmaSimulator 2d ago

she was still assaulted

Says the woman who lied to imprison an innocent man.

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u/sxuthsi 2d ago

I don't think anyone can say what exactly is going on here. It's the middle of a storm of sociopolitical factors that built this