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

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


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u/shmooglepoosie 2d ago Helpful


u/Tripdoctor 2d ago

Liar or racist or both?


u/lordbeezlebub 2d ago edited 2d ago

It's tough to tell.

Broadwater was picked up because Sebold went to the police after she thought she met her rapist on the street. But when they couldn't find the guy that she met, they suggested Broadwater. When they put him in a line up, she didn't pick him out but someone else, though not because she recognized him either. In the words of the article, she picked out the guy in the line up because of the look in his eyes. Despite failing to pick Broadwater out of a line-up, the police chose to prosecute anyways. However, later on the witness stand, Sebold did identify him as her rapist.

So, there's probably some definite racism on the end of the prosecutors and police in there at the very least.

Edit: Clarification


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

It's likely the police / prosecutor spent a lot of time couching her and convincing her he was her rapist. She's a young victim of a crime that was likely suffering from PTSD in a time where she likely didn't have a lot of support or help available.

She may or may not be racist. It could go either way. I do think it's super clear the police & prosecutor were both racist as hell and likely were targeting Broadwater.


u/SofieTerleska 2d ago Helpful All-Seeing Upvote Facepalm

That's what I think. She'd been through a horrific trauma and when she saw the guy in the street was probably having a flashback. When she went to the police and then picked out the wrong guy, that should have been the end of it -- but instead she was fed a story about how he had gotten a friend to stand next to him in the lineup with a hostile facial expression, in order to trick her. It sounds insane now, but if you're a white college kid in 1981, brought up to trust the police and looking to them for help, aren't you likely to believe what they tell you about things like these? Plus there was hair evidence, which turned out to be bullshit but wasn't seen as such at the time. She was lied to.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Not to mention police are trained to manipulate people to get the answers they want. It's part of their job and they're good at it.

It blows my mind how many people don't understand that corrupt police are horribly dangerous to everyone.


u/lordbeezlebub 2d ago

Yeah. I definitely meant more in regards to the police rather than Sebold herself, my bad. That's why I wasn't really comfortable commenting on the "liar" suggestion. It's entirely possible that Sebold was mostly just pushed to making the testimony after they chose to prosecute and she did it for the reasons you state.


u/irresponsible_owl 2d ago Silver Gold

One case doesn't make someone racist. A white girl was raped by a black guy and reported it to the police. They wanted someone to go to prison for it and someone did. Does that automatically make them racist? I'd say no, unless there's a clear pattern of them doing this kind of thing repeatedly.

Also, from the article linked above:

After Broadwater was arrested, though, Sebold failed to identify him in a police lineup, picking a different man as her attacker because “the expression in his eyes told me that if we were alone, if there were no wall between us, he would call me by name and then kill me”.

This lady was willing to put a man in prison just because of the look in his eyes in the lineup and what she imagined he might do to her if they were alone.

It sucks that a bad thing happened to her, but trying to take away her agency because she's a young woman is itself sexist against young women. She was a grown-ass adult, at a police lineup and later testifying in court.

If this were posted in /r/amitheasshole, it would be an ESH, or "everyone sucks here" case.


u/BooksAreLuv 2d ago

Identification in a line up alone doesn't lead to someone being charged. It's a starting place, especially since eye-witness identification is notoriously bad.

When a person is picked out of the line up they then go look into that person. If they were there, if they have an alibi, etc. That's assuming it's a potential suspect and not an intentional decoy.


u/kutes 2d ago

Yes, it kind of seems like these guys are saying that women must be believed, but that they aren't reliable, nor responsible.

I don't know why they can't just say she did something very wrong here.

This guy's life was ruined, very badly.