Nate Parker Releases Statement After Learning Rape Accuser Committed Suicude
Back in 1999, when Parker was 19-years-old he and his 18-year-old college roommate were accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Penn State University student. Parker was acquitted of the charges, while his roommate Jean Celestin was convicted of sexual assault, a conviction that was later overturned with the woman opted not to testify in the 2005 retrial.
While the unnamed student claimed she was unconscious at the time of the alleged assault and could not consent, Parker maintained the sex was consensual, citing the fact that the two had had sex before.
More than 15 years after the alleged assault, it has been revealed that the woman who accused Parker of the alleged assault committed suicide in 2012. Parker took to Facebook to respond to the news, admitting that he is “devastated” to learn of her fate, but continuing to maintain his innocence.
“Over the last several days, a part of my past – my arrest, trial and acquittal on charges of sexual assault – has become a focal point for media coverage, social media speculation and industry conversation. I understand why so many are concerned and rightfully have questions,” he wrote. “These issues of a women’s right to be safe and of men and women engaging in healthy relationships are extremely important to talk about, however difficult. And more personally, as a father, a husband, a brother and man of deep faith, I understand how much confusion and pain this incident has had on so many, most importantly the young woman who was involved. I myself just learned that the young woman ended her own life several years ago and I am filled with profound sorrow…I can’t tell you how hard it is to hear this news. I can’t help but think of all the implications this has for her family.”
“While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law,” he continued. “There is morality; no one who calls himself a man of faith should even be in that situation. As a 36-year-old father of daughters and person of faith, I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom.”
“Please don’t take this as an attempt to solve this with a statement,” he added. “I urge you only to take accept this letter as my response to the moment.