The retreading of a 17-year-old rape case involving director Nate Parker has sent the awards campaign for his critically acclaimed film “The Birth of a Nation” into a tailspin — but what exactly happened nearly two decades ago?

In 1999, Parker and his longtime friend, Jean Celestin, were arrested and tried for the sexual assault of an unnamed woman and fellow classmate at Penn State University, where both men were sophomores and members of the wrestling team.

Parker was acquitted of the charges in 2001, while Celestin was found guilty of sexual assault (a verdict that was later overturned on appeal and never re-tried in court). But the case is mired with claims of emotional distress by the accuser — who took her own life in 2012 — and charges of intimidation and stalking on campus once she came forward.

Also Read: Nate Parker Rape Accuser's Family Speaks Out: 'These Guys Sucked the Life Out of Her'

Accounts of the woman’s life between the incident and her suicide are grim, with family members claiming she suffered from both post-traumatic stress and drug abuse. Parker, historically vocal about his innocence, said he was “devastated” to learn of her death but refuses to run from his past.

Here’s what we know, per court documents and family accounts, about the case:

The Sexual Assault Accusation

The unnamed woman, an 18-year-old Penn State student, alleged that Parker and Celestin both engaged in nonconsensual sex with her while she was unconscious, according to criminal complaints reviewed by The Daily Beast. The events were said to transpire “on or around” October 1999.

The accuser addressed the incident with her college counselor two and a half weeks after it allegedly occurred, according to a civil complaint obtained by TheWrap, which was filed after criminal charges. The counselor advised the woman to call the police and see a doctor.

Also Read: Fake 'Birth of a Nation' Posters Tag Director-Star Nate Parker as 'Rapist?'

A trial would not be held for two years. In November 1999, the accuser made one of two attempts on her life, according to the Daily Beast.

Both Parker and Celestin, who were then 19, said at the time the sex was consensual, and Parker has restated this position in interviews throughout the years, and again on Tuesday by calling the encounter “unambiguously consensual.”

Parker and Celestin charged with “rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault and indecent assault,” according to The Daily Collegian, an independent publication run by Penn State students.

Still, Parker acknowledged in his Tuesday Facebook post, “While I maintain my innocence … 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.”

Also Read: Inside Historic Sundance Bidding War for 'Birth of a Nation': Why Netflix Offered More But Still Lost

“I look back on that time as a teenager and can say without hesitation that I should have used more wisdom,” he added.

A trial would not be held until 2001.

Claims of Harassment on Campus

According to the civil complaint the accuser filed in 2002 against Penn State with the help of Philadelphia-based firm Women’s Law Project, the alleged assault itself was only the start of the emotional trauma she suffered.

The filing claims that the November 1999 attempt on her life was the result of a harassment campaign undertaken Parker and Celestin, whom she alleged had hired a private investigator who circulated photos around campus revealing her identity.

“Parker and Celestin hired a private investigator who showed an enlarged photograph of Jane Doe to students on campus, including to Jane Doe’s acquaintances and friends, and sought information about Jane Doe,” the civil filing said.

Also Read: Fox Searchlight Stands Behind Nate Parker As Rape Case Resurfaces

“The private investigator’s actions disclosed to parts of the campus community the identity of Jane Doe, whose rape had been publicized but whose name had, until then, been kept confidential.”

The woman claimed that she felt unsafe to eat or socialize in
areas, a condition that denied her equal access to education.

Penn State sent notice to all three involved in the case warning them not to engage in any contact at the consequence of disciplinary actions from the university, but the accuser’s filing claimed that Parker and Celestin persisted.

The document reads:

Parker, Celestin, and their friends constantly hurled sexual epithets at Jane Doe while shadowing her as she moved throughout campus and frequently made harassing phone calls to Jane Doe’s dorm room. The harassment and intimidation made Jane Doe fear for her general safety on campus.

“As a result of the harassment, Jane Doe suffered severe depression, sleeplessness, and anxiety attacks. She was unable to attend classes or even leave her room,” the civil filing said.

The college settled the suit in December 2002 for $17,500.

The Criminal Trial

Parker was acquitted of all charges in a 2001 criminal trial that some outlets described as “swift.”

Celestin, who is listed as a story contributor on the “Birth of a Nation” screenplay, was convicted sexual assault and sentenced to six months of jail time. He appealed the verdict and was granted a new trial. The case was eventually dropped.

The Aftermath

In 2002, the accuser gave birth to a son whom her family referred to as the only bright spot in her adult life. “That brought her a good bit of happiness. I think the ghosts continued to haunt her,” the accuser’s brother, identified only as “Johnny,” said in an interview with Variety.

The accuser’s sister, whom the New York Times identified as Sharon Loeffler, was not as gentle in describing the case’s effect on her deceased sibling.

“These guys sucked the soul and life out of her,” she told the Times, adding that if her sister could comment, she would say, “‘I fought long and hard, it overcame me. All I can ask is any other victims to come forward, and not let this kind of tolerance to go on anymore.'”

The woman took her own life in 2012.

Parker’s Road to Hollywood

Parker left Penn State and earned a bachelor’s degree in computer programming from Oklahoma State in 2003. He later pivoted to acting, landing a role in Denzel Washington‘s “The Great Debaters.”

Parker’s hometown newspaper the Virginian-Pilot profiled him for the film, and made mention of the case.

“[It’s] something like that turns you into a man real fast. It teaches you the world doesn’t owe you anything,” Parker said at the time. “If I had it my way, it would never be brought up again. It’s taken six years of my life to get past it,” he added.

He went on to to win roles in films like “The Secret Life of Bees” and the acclaimed 2014 Relativity film “Beyond the Lights.” He also expanded his efforts as a filmmaker, developing the Nat Turner story into a debut writing-director effort that won wide acclaim at Sundance and prompted a bidding war before Fox Searchlight scooped up the rights for $17.5 million.

Accuser’s Suicide and Parker’s ‘Devastation’

On Tuesday, Variety revealed the accuser committed suicide, leaving behind her 10-year-old son. Parker responded to the news, as well as numerous reports that Fox Searchlight was scrambling to re-position “Birth” in advance of an expected awards campaign.

“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,” Parker wrote.

At one point in the statement, he wrote: “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. Empathy for the young woman and empathy for the seriousness of the situation I put myself and others in.”

Parker concluded by asking his response not be taken “as an attempt to solve this with a statement. I urge you only to take accept this letter as my response to the moment.”

25 Fall Movies We're Dying to See: From 'The Birth of a Nation' to 'Rogue One' (Photos)

Fall Preview 2016: TheWrap picks the movies you need to see before the year's end, from superhero films to critically acclaimed indies.

"The Light Between Oceans"
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Release Date: Sept. 2
What it's about: A lighthouse keeper (Fassbender) and his wife (Vikander) rescue a baby girl who washes up in a rowboat and unofficially adopt her. When the girl grows older, an encounter with a certain woman on the mainland threatens to break up their happy life.
Why we're dying to see it: This is the movie that started the real-life Fassbender-Vikander romance. We have to see the chemistry that unfolds between them on screen.


"The Magnificent Seven"
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke
Release Date: Sept. 23
What it's about: A remake of the classic Western about seven outlaws as they help a town under siege by an industrialist villain.
Why we're dying to see it: It's an A-list remake that showcases some good diversity. Plus Antoine Fuqua directed "Training Day," in which Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Columbia Pictures

"Queen of Katwe"
Director: Mira Nair
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga
Release Date: Sept. 23
What it's about: A biographical drama about Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy who earned Woman Candidate Master at the World Chess Olympiads.
Why we're dying to see it: It's an untold story of a Ugandan chess player who grew up in the slum of Katwe. Rarely do we get to see feel-good stories about Africa on the big screen.

Walt Disney Pictures

"The Girl on the Train"
Cast: Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett
Director: Tate Taylor
Release Date: Oct. 7
What it's about: The story follows a recently divorced woman (Blunt) who fantasizes during her daily commute about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a house that her train passes every day, until she sees something shocking and becomes entangled in a mystery.
Why we're dying to see it: It's based on Paula Hawkins' best-selling novel and has the same feel as "Gone Girl."

Universal Pictures

"The Birth of a Nation"
Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Mark Boone Junior, Gabrielle Union
Director: Nate Parker
Release Date: Oct. 7
What it's about: Parker stars as the 19th-century slave Nat Turner, who was taught to read the Bible to preach to fellow slaves but wound up leading a famous rebellion in 1831.
Why we're dying to see it: Parker's directorial debut was phenomenon at Sundance, where it was bought for a festival-record $17.5 million.

Fox Searchlight Pictures

"Kevin Hart: What Now?"
Cast: Kevin Hart
Director: Leslie Small
Release Date: Oct. 14
What it's about: A stand-up comedy film that features his performance from the recently concluded "What Now?" tour.
Why we're dying to see it: It's been five long years since his last stand-up film, "Laugh at My Pain."

Universal Pictures

"A Monster Calls"
Cast: Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones
Director: J.A. Bayona
Release Date: Oct. 21
What it's about: A young boy deals with a terminally ill mother and bullies at school with the help of an ancient monster tree (voiced by Liam Neeson).
Why we're dying to see it: Patrick Ness' fantastical children's novel, based on an idea from a woman with terminal cancer, was adapted for the screen by Ness himself.

Focus Features

"Doctor Strange"
Cast: Rachel McAdams, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelson, Tilda Swinton
Director: Scott Derrickson
Release Date: Nov. 4
What it's about:  Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is an egotistical but brilliant surgeon whose career is destroyed after a car accident ruins his hands. Searching the globe to repair them, he encounters the Ancient One (Swinton), a sorcerer who trains Strange to defend the world from evil.
Why we’re excited to see it: Doctor Strange is one of Marvel’s more eccentric (and lesser known) heroes and the trailers have promised plenty some seriously trippy, magical mayhem.

Walt Disney Studios

“Hacksaw Ridge”
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn, Teresa Palmer
Director: Mel Gibson
Release Date: Nov. 4
What it’s about: It's based on the true story of U.S. Army medic Desmond T. Doss (Garfield) during World War II. Doss refused to kill anybody or bear arms, becoming the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman.
Why we’re excited to see it: The story sounds fascinating, and this is Mel Gibson’s first film as a director since 2006’s “Apocalypto.”

Summit Entertainment

Cast: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll
Director: Jeff Nichols
Release Date: Nov. 4
What it's about: An interracial couple wages a legal fight against imprisonment in the mid-20th-century South, leading to the landmark 1967 Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia.
Why we're dying to see it: The film has been building buzz since its debut at Cannes, particularly for co-star Ruth Negga.

Focus Features

"All Eyez on Me"
Cast: Demetrius Shipp Jr. Danai Gurira, Lauren Cohan
Director: Benny Boom
Release Date: Nov. 11
What it's about: A biopic on Tupac Shaku's rise to fame all the way to his death during a drive-by in Las Vegas.
Why we're dying to see it: Tupac has had multiple films made about his life, but the last one worth watching ("Tupac: Resurrection") was released 13 years ago. Plus, Tupac.

Open Road Films

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Release Date: Nov. 16
What it's about: After alien spacecrafts descend on Earth, a linguist (Adams) is hired by the U.S. government to investigate them.
Why we're dying to see it: The film has a strong pedigree, Adams has been nominated for five Oscars and the director's last film, "Sicario," received three Oscar nominations.

Paramount Pictures

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk"
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Chris Tucker, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund
Director: Ang Lee
Release Date: Nov. 11
What it's about: Based on a novel of the same name, the film follows an Iraq war hero whose victory tour back in the U.S. is interrupted by jarring flashbacks.
Why we're dying to see it: Great source material, and Ang Lee's first film since another eye-catching literary adaptation, "The Life of Pi."

TriStar Pictures

“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell
Director: David Yates
Release Date: Nov. 18
What it’s about: Before Harry Potter even existed, there was Newt Scamander (Redmayne). The wizard -- and future author of a textbook  mainstay at Hogwarts — visits the Magical Congress of the United States in 1926, but loses control of a special briefcase containing a number of dangerous beasts.
Why we’re excited to see it: J.K. Rowling. Wizards. Eddie Redmayne.

“Nocturnal Animals”
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer
Director: Tom Ford
Release Date: Nov. 18
What it’s about: In an adaptation of Austin Wright's 1933 novel “Tony and Susan,” Adams stars as an art gallery owner who begins receiving the manuscript of her ex-husband’s violent thriller novel. As Susan reads more of the story, she begins to interpret it as a threat.
Why we’re excited to see it: This will be fashion designer Tom Ford’s second directorial feature, following 2009’s “A Single Man.” The dynamic cast is sure to make this thriller a memorable one.

Focus Features

"Manchester by the Sea"
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Lucas Hedge
Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Release Date: Nov. 18
What it’s about: An uncle (Affleck) must take care of his teenage nephew (Hedge) and return to his hometown after the death of the boy’s father.
Why we’re excited to see it: The film received high praise when it premiered at Sundance and Lucas Hedge delivers a breakout performance as the nephew, Patrick.

Amazon Studios

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Auli’i Cravalho, Phillipa Soo
Director: Ron Clements, John Musker
Release Date: Nov. 23
What it’s about: A young woman, Moana (Cravalho), sets sail for a fabled island and is joined by demigod Maui (Johnson) along the way.
Why we’re excited to see it: The animated musical is Disney’s first story about a Polynesian princess and will feature original music by “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Plus, the Rock sings!

"La La Land"
Cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock
Director: Damien Chazelle
Release Date: Dec. 2
What it’s about: Stone and Gosling star as an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist, respectively, in modern-day L.A. The two meet and soon fall in love, but as each begins to find success in their dream careers, their relationship threatens to tear apart.
Why we’re excited to see it: We’ve already seen the chemistry between Stone and Gosling in “Crazy, Stupid, Love” and “Gangster Squad,” so we can’t wait to see what happens with the two of them when dancing and music are added in this romantic comedy-drama musical.

Director: Denzel Washington
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo
Release Date: Dec. 16
What's it about: A once-promising baseball player ends up working as a garbageman in 1950s Pittsburgh.
Why we're dying to see it: August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play with two amazing actors -- who won Tonys in 2010 for playing these very roles on Broadway.

20th Century Fox

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"
Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Mads Mikkelsen
Director: Gareth Edwards
Release Date: Dec. 16
What it’s about: Essentially a prequel to “Star Wars: A New Hope,” the film follows a group of Rebel spies as they attempt to steal plans for the Death Star.
Why we’re excited to see it: Not only is it the first standalone film in the "Star Wars" franchise, but the trailer promises a badass female lead and plenty of fight scenes.


"Collateral Beauty"
Cast: Will Smith, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Edward Norton
Director: David Frankel
Release Date: Dec. 16
What it’s about: An advertising executive in New York faces a downward spiral after a tragic event, prompting his colleagues to seek a plan to get him out his funk.
Why we’re excited to see it: “The Devil Wears Prada” director returns to New York City with an all-star cast.

Getty Images

"The Founder"
Cast: Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch
Director: John Lee Hancock
Release Date: Dec. 16
What it’s about: The biographical film follows Ray Kroc (Keaton) meeting Mac and Dick McDonald and developing the first  McDonald’s franchise.
Why we’re excited to see it: Aren’t you curious to hear how McDonald’s started? And Keaton could be back in the Oscar race for the third straight year.

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne
Director: Morten Tyldum
Release Date: Dec. 21
What it’s about: Lawrence and Pratt play two passengers aboard a spacecraft that’s on a 120-year journey to a distant planet. Due to a malfunction, two passengers are prematurely woken up with 90 years left to go on the voyage.
Why we’re excited to see it: Two of Hollywood's biggest stars team for a sci-fi romance that seemed very promising from the first footage shown at CinemaCon in April.

Getty Images

"Why Him?"
Cast: James Franco, Zoey Deutch, Bryan Cranston, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam DeVine, Megan Mullally
Director: John Hamburg
Release Date: Dec. 25
What it’s about: A father (Cranston) meets his daughter’s wealthy and eccentric boyfriend (Franco) and immediately dislikes him -- and resists all of Franco's attempts to win him over.
Why we’re excited to see it: Cranston and Franco seem like the perfect oddball pairing-- plus it's great to see them both in a comdy.

20th Century Fox

"Toni Erdmann"
Cast: Peter Simonischek, Sandra Hüller, Michael Wittenborn
Director: Maren Ade
Release Date: Dec. 25
What it’s about: An older father (Simonischek) tries to reconnect with his adult daughter (Hüller) by playing pranks on her.
Why we’re excited to see it: The comedic film, a hit at Cannes, boasts a 91 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. TheWrap’s Steve Pond described it as a “hysterically funny but deeply touching father-daughter story that ... doesn’t waste a moment.”

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Fall Movie Preview 2016: TheWrap picks the films you need to see before year’s end

Fall Preview 2016: TheWrap picks the movies you need to see before the year's end, from superhero films to critically acclaimed indies.

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