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Nate Parker addresses sexual assault charges on ’60 Minutes’: ‘I don’t feel guilty’

A scene from Nate Parker's "The Birth of a Nation."
(Fox Searchlight)

Nate Parker has broken his silence over a 2001 sexual-assault trial, saying he does not feel remorse about the events in question.

“I don’t feel guilty,” the filmmaker and star of “The Birth of a Nation” told Anderson Cooper in a “60 Minutes” interview scheduled to air Sunday.

Parker was accused and acquitted of sexually assaulting a woman in 1999 while he was a student at Penn State University. Parker said it was consensual sex. “Birth” co-writer Jean Celestin was convicted; the ruling was overturned on appeal.

In a clip released by CBS, Parker says that he was devastated by the news, which broke earlier this summer, that the alleged victim had committed suicide several years ago; he added that he does view the events differently now.

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“As a Christian man being in that situation, yeah sure, I’m 36 years old right now and my faith is very important to me,” he said, when asked if he felt he did anything morally wrong. “Looking back through that lens, I definitely feel like it’s not the lens I had when I was 19 years old.”

Parker did the sit-down as part of what has been at times an awkward publicity tour for his Nat Turner slave-revolt movie, which arrives in theaters next Friday. Parker and distributor Fox Searchlight have struggled to keep the focus on the film as questions about the incident have continued to surface.

On Thursday those allegations again bubbled up when the sister of the alleged victim penned a column in Variety saying she did not forgive Parker.

“I think Nate Parker and Jean Celestin knew this would come up. I think they thought that they could get away with exploiting my sister again,” she wrote. “When she was 18 years old and incapacitated, Nate Parker and Jean Celestin had power over her. They abused that power, and they continue to wield that power to this day.”

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