Nate Parker is speaking out about the rape allegations against him. The Birth of a Nation staring director opens up on Facebook about the 1999 sexual assault case involving him that has resurfaced.
"These are my words. Written from my heart and not filtered through a third party gaze. Please read these separate from any platform I may have, but from me as a fellow human being," he begins. In the lengthy post, Parker says that he's "devastated" and understands the public's right to have questions. "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."
In 1999, 19-year-old Parker and roommate, Jean Celestin (co-writer of The Birth of a Nation) were accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old fellow student at Penn State after a night of drinking, per The Huffington Post. Parker was cleared of the charges and Celestin was sentenced to six months in prison. He was later released on account of a mistrial. Variety reported that the accuser died by suicide in 2012.
In his Facebook post, Parker references this. "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." He continues, "I cannot- nor do I want to ignore the pain she endured during and following our trial. While I maintain my innocence that the encounter was unambiguously consensual, there are things more important than the law." He ends his statement, "I cannot change what has happened. I cannot bring this young woman who was someone else’s daughter, someone’s sister and someone’s mother back to life…All of this said, I also know there are wounds that neither time nor words can heal."
Read more about the case against Nate Parker here.
[Photo: Getty Images]