While prosecutors are continuing their investigation of Penn State as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, a second accusation of sexual misconduct against Nate Parker has surfaced.
While Parker was suspended from Penn’s wrestling team in the midst of being criminally charged with rape, he was reinstated in the fall of 2000 while still facing trial, and within weeks he was accused of exposing himself to a female student trainer. Despite being encouraged by the university to go to police, the trainer decided not to and as a result the school dropped the matter. According to the New York Times, “Prosecutors are trying to assess whether the school’s handling of Mr. Parker suggests a broader pattern of inaction by the athletic department when it came to complaints of sexual misconduct, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation who are not authorized to discuss it publicly.”
Parker’s lawyer, David J. Matlof, said in an email to the Times, “This is the first Mr. Parker has ever heard of this. He recognizes the seriousness of the issue, but this claim is completely untrue.”
The Times pointed out that “Mr. Parker has no direct connection to the criminal case against the university officials and he faces no legal problems. He has consistently said that the rape accusation, in which he and a friend were accused of assaulting a drunken woman, was false, and that the encounter was consensual. And he said through his lawyer that he was never told of any exposure complaint, and that no such incident had occurred.”
Nevertheless, the second accusation is troubling. According to TMZ, the student trainer noted in documents claimed “Nate told her he wanted to show her something, and then pulled his pants down exposing the top half of his penis.”
Diane Rosenfeld, director of the gender violence program at Harvard Law School, told The Times “Just because the person to whom he allegedly exposed himself didn’t report it to the police doesn’t matter at all. It doesn’t relieve the school of its responsibilities.”
While Penn State officials said they couldn’t discuss their disciplinary process because of student confidentiality rules, they did say in a statement, “our clear expectations today are that an incident such as a student-athlete exposing himself to a student trainer must be reported and investigated.”
The Times went on to point out: “Parker was eventually kicked off the wrestling squad for team infractions in February 2001. That fall, while still awaiting trial, he was able to transfer to the University of Oklahoma. After wrestling there, he was removed from that team for head-butting an opponent. Officials at Oklahoma said that they did not believe the university was aware of Mr. Parker’s pending rape case when they admitted him.”
What do you think about this second accusation?