Ac­tor al­leges for­mer ESU exec mo­lested him as a teenager

The Morning Call - - LOCAL NEWS - By Michael Ru­binkam

Ac­tor Hosea Chanchez says a friend’s fa­ther sex­u­ally as­saulted him in Alabama when he was 14 years old, iden­ti­fy­ing his abuser as a col­lege ad­min­is­tra­tor who later worked at East Strouds­burg Univer­sity, where he was ac­cused of ha­rass­ing and mo­lest­ing sev­eral male stu­dents.

Chanchez, who starred in BET’s long-run­ning se­ries “The Game,” de­scribed what he says hap­pened to him in an In­sta­gram post last week, writ­ing that he de­cided to go public now “in hopes that my TRUTH helps to free some­one else from guilt and shame at the hands of a preda­tor, rapist, pe­dophile.”

The ac­tor con­firmed to The Associated Press that the Isaac San­ders he says as­saulted him in the 1990s is the same man who worked at ESU in the 2000s.

San­ders’ lawyer in Penn­syl­va­nia, Harry Cole­man, told the AP last week that he had not spo­ken to his client about Chanchez. Two mes­sages were left at a phone num­ber associated with San­ders seek­ing com­ment on Chanchez’s ac­cu­sa­tion.

On In­sta­gram, Chanchez, now 37, re­counted an as­sault he said hap­pened in Mont­gomery, Alabama, when he was around 14.

He said San­ders had been groom­ing him with ex­plicit sex­ual ban­ter. One day, he wrote, San­ders was giv­ing him a ride home from his house when he de­toured, pulled to the side of a dirt road and said he wanted to talk to Chanchez about his fu­ture.

“He worked at a univer­sity so he said he’s only look­ing out for me and my fu­ture. Then out of nowhere he said he wanted to see what the girls are go­ing crazy over, then he reached over un­zipped my pants and told me to trust him,” Chanchez wrote.

Chanchez wrote that San­ders per­formed oral sex on him. Af­ter­ward, he said, San­ders or­dered him to keep quiet about it. “He told me he’s a very pow­er­ful man and if I’d ever told any­one he would ruin my life and no one would be­lieve me any­ways,” Chanchez wrote.

He said he buried the mem­ory for decades.

“As a man, a black man, I al­ways thought ac­knowl­edg­ing this would make me less of a man. I was afraid to be judged, talked about, laughed at or even worse not be­lieved at all.”

The ac­tor said Fri­day that he had not con­tem­plated fil­ing a po­lice re­port in Alabama, but that he de­cided to speak out now in part to pre­vent San­ders from hurt­ing any­one else: “No one will leave their kid around him now and say they didn’t know that he’s a pe­dophile.”

The Associated Press does not typ­i­cally name peo­ple who say they are the vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault un­less they iden­tify them­selves pub­licly, as Chanchez has done.

The case at East Strouds­burg Univer­sity in­volved col­lege-age ac­cusers.

There, the for­mer stu­dents said San­ders used his high­pow­ered job to of­fer them gifts, schol­ar­ships and cam­pus jobs, then sex­u­ally ha­rassed or as­saulted them, in­clud­ing with forced oral sex. The stu­dents’ lawyer has por­trayed San­ders, who is black, as a preda­tor who tar­geted emo­tion­ally frag­ile black men from bro­ken homes be­cause he be­lieved they would be less likely to re­port the abuse.

The state’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into San­ders, which led to his 2008 ouster from East Strouds­burg, found he “ex­er­cised ex­ceed­ingly poor judg­ment to­ward” stu­dents and mis­han­dled donor funds, ac­cord­ing to his ter­mi­na­tion let­ter.

San­ders has never been charged with a crime and has al­ways cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied sex­u­ally touch­ing any of the men. A fed­eral jury sided with the for­mer univer­sity of­fi­cial in a 2014 law­suit brought by the stu­dents.

San­ders, who faced a sim­i­lar ac­cu­sa­tion of sex­ual mis­con­duct when he worked at Still­man Col­lege in Alabama in the 1990s, filed a wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion suit against the state of Penn­syl­va­nia last year. A fed­eral judge dis­missed it.

The ac­cusers in the East Strouds­burg case saw Chanchez’s post, said their at­tor­ney, Al­bert R. Mur­ray Jr.

“They’re sick about this. They have to re­live it all over again,” he said.

Mur­ray, a for­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor, has long ac­cused Penn­syl­va­nia au­thor­i­ties of a cover-up in the San­ders case, say­ing San­ders was never sub­ject to a proper crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Penn­syl­va­nia’s state univer­sity sys­tem has con­sis­tently re­fused to re­lease its in­ves­tiga­tive re­port on San­ders. A spokesman said Chanchez’s al­le­ga­tions have not changed its po­si­tion.

Chanchez told the AP that he had been un­aware of the Penn­syl­va­nia case but that he “fig­ured that maybe I wasn’t the only one.”

MATT SAYLES/AP

This May 20, 2013 file photo shows ac­tor Hosea Chanchez at the LA Pre­miere of “The Hang­over: Part III” in Los An­ge­les. Chanchez says a friend’s fa­ther sex­u­ally as­saulted him in Alabama when he was 14.

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