Nate Parker, the director and star of this year's The Birth of a Nation, was once reportedly accused of indecent exposure during his time at Penn State. The accusation from 2000 has resurfaced as part of an extensive investigation surrounding the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal by the New York Times, who noted that "interviews and documents" may indicate that Penn State officials were "lenient" with Parker.
"Suspended from the wrestling team when he was criminally charged with rape, he was reinstated in the fall of 2000 while still facing trial," the Timesreported Friday. "Within weeks, a female student trainer complained that he had exposed himself to her. But after she decided not to go to the police, despite the urging of the university, Penn State appears to have dropped the matter." Parker was ultimately acquitted of rape, though the case has remained a controversial topic surrounding the release of The Birth of a Nation.
Parker is not directly involved with Sandusky's criminal case, though state investigators are now said to be looking into whether the school "mishandled" Parker's case as part of a larger pattern of leniency. Tim Curley, the school's former athletic director, was reportedly involved with the university's handling of Parker's case and has also been named in the Sandusky investigation. Parker, however, refuted the indecent exposure accusation in a statement to the Times.
"This is the first Mr. Parker has ever heard of this," David J. Matlof, Parker's attorney, said Friday. "He recognizes the seriousness of the issue, but this claim is completely untrue."