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Nate Parker is an acclaimed actor and director, but recent news of something that happened in his past alarmed us all.

As reported by Variety, in 1999, as a student and wrestler at Penn State University, Nate and his roommate Jean Celestin were charged with raping a 20-year-old female student in their apartment after a night of drinking.

He addressed the case in a sit-down with the publication:

“Seventeen years ago, I experienced a very painful moment in my life,” Parker told Variety. “It resulted in it being litigated. I was cleared of it. That’s that. Seventeen years later, I’m a filmmaker. I have a family. I have five beautiful daughters. I have a lovely wife. I get it. The reality is, I can’t relive 17 years ago. All I can do is be the best man I can be now.

My life will be examined and put under the microscope in ways that it never has,” Parker said, pointing to individuals on Twitter who criticized him for having a white wife. “There are numerous things that are surfacing. But I’ve always been an open book. I’m an advocate of justice. I’m an older man. I’ve matured a lot. I’ve had many obstacles in my life. I grew up very poor. My father passed away. There are so many things that happened. At the same time, I am the man that I am. I am open to the scrutiny. I will never hide anything from my past.”

The topic at hand resurfaced because Celestin co-wrote the Nat Turner-inspired film Birth of a Nation with Nate.

While Parker was suspended and placed at another college, Celestin was sentenced to six months in prison at the time. He appealed the verdict, but a second trial in 2005 was thrown out due to the victim not wanting to testify again. She sued the university and was awarded in an out-of-court settlement for $17,500.

“This was something that I experienced as a college student 17 years ago and was fully exonerated of,” Nate added. “I have since moved on and been focusing on my family and writing career.”



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