Nate Parker ‘Devastated’ After Rape Accuser’s Suicide
Nate Parker is “filled with profound sorrow” following the death of a woman who accused him of rape.
The unidentified college student accused Parker, the man behind acclaimed new movie The Birth of a Nation, of sexually assaulting her back in 1999 when they were both studying at Penn State.
On Tuesday, the woman’s brother told Variety that she committed suicide in 2012 by overdosing on sleeping pills, with her death certificate, obtained by the outlet, showing she died at a drug rehabilitation center after battling “major depressive disorder with psychotic features, PTSD due to physical and sexual abuse and polysubstance abuse.”
Following the tragic revelation, Parker later took to his Facebook page to reveal his devastation over her passing.
“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. I write to you all devastated…
“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. 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.
“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.”
The woman accused both Parker and his The Birth of a Nation collaborator Jean Celestin of sexual assault. The case went to trial but Parker was eventually acquitted, and while Celestin was convicted and sentenced to serve six months behind bars, his conviction was later overturned on appeal. The accuser refused to testify again and a retrial was scrapped.
Parker, who has always insisted the encounter with the young woman was consensual, continued his statement by telling fans he has learned from his mistakes in the past.
“I look back on that time, my indignant attitude and my heartfelt mission to prove my innocence with eyes that are more wise with time. I see now that I may not have shown enough empathy even as I fought to clear my name,” he wrote. “Empathy for the young woman and empathy for the seriousness of the situation I put myself and others in. 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…
“I have changed so much since nineteen. I’ve grown and matured in so many ways and still have more learning and growth to do. I have tried to conduct myself in a way that honors my entire community – and will continue to do this to the best of my ability.”