Wie entschuldigt man sich bei jemanden, der zu einer 16jährigen Gefängnisstrafe wegen einer Vergewaltigung verurteilte, die er nicht begangen hatte?

Gerade ist wieder ein interessanter Fall in der Presse, nämlich der Fall von Anthony Broadwater, der Alice Sebold vergewaltigt haben sollte und dafür, auch weil sie ihn identifizierte, für 16 Jahre ins Gefängnis musste und danach als „Sexoffender“ eingetragen war.

Frau Sebold hat ihre Memoiren darüber geschrieben und Bücher über sexuelle Gewalt, mit denen sie erfolgreich war. 

In her memoir Lucky, she described being raped and later telling police she had seen a black man in the street who she believed was her attacker.

Lucky sold more than one million copies and launched Ms Sebold’s career as an author. She went on to write the novel The Lovely Bones which was turned into an Oscar-nominated film by Peter Jackson.

Lucky’s publisher announced on Tuesday that it would stop distributing the memoir while working with Ms Sebold to „consider how the work might be revised“.
The book detailed how Ms Sebold was attacked when she was an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University in New York.
Months later, she reported seeing a black man in the street who she thought was her attacker, and alerted police.
An officer then detained Mr Broadwater, who had reportedly been in the area at the time.
After his arrest, Ms Sebold failed to pick him out in a police line-up, selecting another man. But Mr Broadwater was tried anyway and Ms Sebold identified him as her attacker in court. He was convicted based on her account and microscopic hair analysis.
After he was released from prison in 1998, Mr Broadwater remained on the sex offenders register.

He was exonerated on 22 November after a re-examination of the case found he had been convicted on insufficient and now-discredited forms of evidence.
His wrongful conviction came to light after an executive producer working on a film adaptation of Lucky raised questions over the case, and later hired a private investigator.
„Certain things leapt out at me as being unusual in the American criminal justice system – specifically the line-up procedure where Alice picked the wrong person as her assailant… but they tried him [Mr Broadwater] anyway,“ Timothy Mucciante told the BBC’s Today programme.
He said he discussed his concerns with other members of the production team, but was assured that the book had been vetted and reviewed by lawyers.
„In June, I was separated from the picture, and… about a week later or so I contacted the private investigator,“ he said.
Mr Mucciante said he hired the investigator on a Wednesday, and by the Friday both men were convinced there had been a miscarriage of justice.

He described it as a „terrific tragedy… not only in terms of the unfortunate assault of Alice, but also the sort of metaphoric assault of Anthony Broadwater, who spent 16 years in prison and 23 years after that as a registered sex offender“.
Mr Mucciante said it was „impossible“ for him „to lay any blame at the 18-year-old Alice Sebold“ for the wrongful conviction.
„I read Alice’s apology and Anthony was very gracious in accepting that apology and I really applaud him for that. That’s the kind of person he is,“ he said.
Upon hearing the news that he had been cleared of the crime, Mr Broadwater, 61, told AP news agency that he was crying „tears of joy and relief“.

Es sollte also ein Film über den Vorfall gedreht werden und einem der Produktionsmitglieder kam der Fall so merkwürdig vor, dass er einen Detektiv anheuerte und es schließlich gelang die Unschuld zu beweisen.
Ein anderer Artikel beleuchtet den Grund der Verurteilung noch einmal genauer:

Ms. Sebold was 18 and a student at Syracuse University when the rape that led to Mr. Broadwater’s wrongful conviction occurred.

In “Lucky,” which was published in 1999, she gives a searing account of the assault and of the trauma she subsequently endured. She also writes in detail about the trial and about how she became convinced she had recognized Mr. Broadwater, whom she referred to with a pseudonym in the book, as her attacker after passing him on the street months after the rape.

The memoir chronicles mishaps in the case, including the fact that a composite sketch of her attacker, based on her description, did not resemble him. The book also describes Ms. Sebold’s fear that the prosecution might be derailed after she identified a different man, not Mr. Broadwater, in a police lineup.

Later, she identified Mr. Broadwater as her attacker in court. After a brief trial, he was convicted of first-degree rape and five other charges.

“Lucky” started Ms. Sebold’s career and paved the way for her breakout novel, “The Lovely Bones,” which also centers on sexual assault. It has sold millions of copies and was made into a feature film.

Although Ms. Sebold gave Mr. Broadwater the fictitious name Gregory Madison in the memoir, he said he had been forced to suffer the stigma of being branded a sex offender even after being released from prison.

He had always insisted he was innocent and was denied parole several times for refusing to acknowledge guilt. He took two polygraph tests, decades apart, with experts who determined that his account was truthful.

Es ist keine einfache Frage, ob man ihr da etwas vorwerfen kann. Sicherlich hätte sie Unsicherheiten deutlich machen sollen, aber das gefährliche an unserer Erinnerung ist natürlich auch, dass sich Bilder überlagern können und sie wirklich geglaubt haben kann, dass er es war, gerade wenn eine gewisse Ähnlichkeit besteht.

Es macht aber auch gerade wieder die Unsicherheit solcher Identifizierungen deutlich und die Schwierigkeit hier die eigene Unschuld darzulegen, wenn man nicht zufällig ein Alibi hat.

Hier noch zwei Bilder, die ich bei Twitter gefunden habe:

Hier ist zu ergänzen, dass gerade keine DNA Analyse gemacht worden sind, sondern Haare mittels eines Mikroskops verglichen worden sind, die einmal von dem Täter stammten und einmal von dem Angeklagten.  Diese Methode hat erhebliche Fehler, da Haare eben optisch sehr gleich sind.

Das nächste Foto ist dann das Foto der Gegenüberstellung:

Hier ist ihr Text nachdem sie erfahren hat, dass er nunmehr freigesprochen wurde:

First, I want to say that I am truly sorry to Anthony Broadwater and I deeply regret what you have been through.

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. Of the many things I wish for you, I hope most of all that you and your family will be granted the time and privacy to heal.

40 years ago, as a traumatized 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice — not to perpetuate injustice. And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man’s life by the very crime that had altered mine.

I am grateful that Mr. Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he became another young Black man brutalized by our flawed legal system. I will forever be sorry for what was done to him.

Today, American society is starting to acknowledge and address the systemic issues in our judicial system that too often means that justice for some comes at the expense of others. Unfortunately, this was not a debate, or a conversation, or even a whisper when I reported my rape in 1981.

It has taken me these past eight days to comprehend how this could have happened. I will continue to struggle with the role that I unwittingly played within a system that sent an innocent man to jail. I will also grapple with the fact that my rapist will, in all likelihood, never be known, may have gone on to rape other women, and certainly will never serve the time in prison that Mr. Broadwater did.

Throughout my life, I have always tried to act with integrity and to speak from a place of honesty. And so, I state here clearly that I will remain sorry for the rest of my life that while pursuing justice through the legal system, my own misfortune resulted in Mr. Broadwater’s unfair conviction for which he has served not only 16 years behind bars but in ways that further serve to wound and stigmatize, nearly a full life sentence.

Ich finde es einen ganz merkwürdig geschriebenen Text, weil ihm das eine wesentliche Element fehlt, eine wirkliche Entschuldigung für ihren Anteil an dem ganzen. Natürlich: Sie wird sicherlich mit einem Rechtsanwalt gesprochen haben, der ihr geraten hat, das sehr vorsichtig zu formulieren und nichts einzugestehen (wobei in Deutschland Ansprüche wahrscheinlich schon verjährt wären, keine Ahnung wie das in den USA ist)

Aber sie schiebt die Schuld auf das Justizsystem, dabei ist letztendlich ihre Benennung des Zeugens das gewesen, was wesentlich für die Verurteilung war. Nachdem die Zeichnung nach ihren Angaben nicht zu dem Zeugen passte und sie in der Gegenüberstellung den falschen auswählte, hätte sie dann im Gericht vorsichtiger sein könnnen

Was hätte sie schreiben können, was das alles berücksichtigt? Doch zumindest so etwas wie „Damals war ich überzeugt, dass mein Täter jetzt endlich bestraft wird und es tut mir leid, wenn ich dort einen Fehler gemacht habe. Ich wünschte ich wäre rationaler an die Sache herangegangen und hätte ruhig überlegt gehandelt und wenn es deswegen zu einer Verurteilung gekommen ist, dann ist das etwas, was ich mir auf ewig vorhalten muss“. Also etwas was ein eigens Fehlverhalten in den Raum stellt, wenn auch aus der Situation heraus.

Sicherlich wäre es auch interessant ihn zumindest an den Einnahmen des Buches, welches ihn ja zwar unter falschen Namen aber dennoch identifizierbar über sie als Vergewaltiger dargestellt hat, beteiligen würde.