American author Alice Sebold has apologised for her part in the wrongful conviction of a man who was cleared last week of raping her in 1981.
In her memoir Lucky, she described being raped and later telling police she had seen a black man in the street whom she believed was her attacker.
Anthony Broadwater was arrested and convicted, spending 16 years in prison.
A statement from Mr Broadwater, released via his lawyers, said he was “relieved that she has apologised”.
In Ms Sebold’s apology statement, she said: “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”.
Her book detailed how she 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 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.
Upon hearing the news, he told AP news agency that he was crying “tears of joy and relief”.
Ms Sebold said in her statement that she had spent the last eight days trying to “comprehend how this could have happened”.
“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,” she added.
Lucky sold more than one million copies and launched Ms Sebold’s career as an author, according to Variety. She went on to write The Lovely Bones which was turned into an Oscar-nominated film by Peter Jackson.
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