Alice Sebold biopic axed after man’s rape conviction is overturned

Adaptation projects of Alice Sebold’s 1999 memoirs Fortunate were scrapped, after the man she accused of raping her had her conviction overturned.

Anthony Broadwater spent 16 years in prison after being convicted in 1982 of raping Sebold when she was 18. He was cleared last week.

Fortunate was being adapted to the cinema, with You star Victoria Pedretti chose to play Sebold, but after Tim Mucciante signed on as executive producer he noticed glaring discrepancies in the prosecutor’s file and “started digging around and trying to figure out what had happened. really past “.

Mucciante was pulled from the project, but he hired Dan Myers as a private investigator to review the evidence. Myers, who spent 20 years working for the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, also became convinced of Broadwater’s innocence and recommended J David Hammond as his defense attorney.

Hammond told CNN that he and his colleague, Melissa Swartz, listened to the trial transcript and discovered “serious legal issues,” prompting them to file a motion to quash the conviction.

Victoria Pedretti has been cast to play Alice Sebold in new film

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Victoria Pedretti has been cast as Alice Sebold in new film

(Chelsea Lauren / Shutterstock)

According to Variety, the film adaptation was discontinued and Pedretti is no longer attached.

Fortunate details how, as a teenage student, Sebold was raped and beaten in a tunnel near her college campus.

Sebold wrote that she saw a black man on the street several months after her attack, a man she became convinced was her attacker. “He was smiling as he approached. He recognized me. It was for him a walk in the park; he had met an acquaintance in the street, ”she wrote.

“Hey, girl,” he said. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” I looked at him directly. I knew his face had been the face above me in the tunnel.

Sebold surrendered to the police, but they were unable to find his attacker during the initial search. An officer suggested the man on the street must have been Broadwater, who was supposedly in that area at the time. In her memoirs, she gives him the pseudonym Gregory Madison.

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While police arrested Broadwater, Sebold failed to identify him in a police queue. She chose another man as her attacker because “the expression in his eyes told me that if we were alone, if there was no wall between us, he would call me by my name and kill me” .

Broadwater, who was 20 at the time, had returned home from a stint in the Marines to spend time with his ailing father.

Anthony Broadwater sobbed as he heard his rape conviction had been overturned

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Anthony Broadwater sobbed when he learned his rape conviction had been overturned


Although Sebold did not identify him in a police queue, Broadwater was brought to justice, where Sebold identified him as his rapist on the witness stand. By the time of Broadwater’s arrest and subsequent prosecutions, her father’s health deteriorated. He died shortly after Broadwater was sent to jail.

His conviction was largely based on Sebold’s identification of him as his attacker and on the microscopic analysis of the hair by an expert linking him to the crime. This type of analysis has since been considered an undesirable science by the US Department of Justice.

Broadwater had remained on the New York sex offender registry after completing his prison term in 1999. He worked as a garbage hauler and handyman in the years following his release. The conviction overshadowed his employment prospects and his relationships with family and friends.

“I’m not going to mess this up by saying, ‘I’m sorry. It’s not enough, ”Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick told him. “It should never have happened.”

A spokesperson for Publisher Scribner declined to comment Variety on the quashing of the conviction.

“Neither Alice Sebold nor Scribner have a comment. Scribner does not intend to update the text of Fortunate right now, ”they said.

Sebold later wrote another book on rape, the bestselling novel The beautiful bones.

The independent has contacted representatives of Sebold for comment.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted, you can contact your nearest Rape Crisis organization for expert, independent and confidential support. For more information visit their website here.

This article was last modified on December 1, 2021. An older version suggested Fortunate was a Netflix production.

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