The Sundance Institute has come forward to address the sexual abuse charges of Sundance Film Festival co-founder Sterling Van Wagenen saying that they he has “no current connection” to the film festival or the institute and that they “denounce” his behavior.
“Recent reports in the press have made us aware of allegations of sexual abuse by Sterling Van Wagenen, who played a role in founding both the Festival and the Institute,” said the Sundance Institute spokesperson in a statement sent to Deadline. “He has no current connection to either entity, and hasn’t since he left our Utah Advisory Board in 1993. Sundance Institute categorically denounces his behavior as described in recent reports, and we stand in solidarity with those whose brave truth-telling shines light on abusive behavior.”
Van Wagenen was charged with felony aggravated sexual abuse on April 2 and is currently out on $75,000 bail. The filmmaker and producer was accused of sexually abusing a child when she was 7 and 9 years old in the time frame of Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2015.
In addition to co-founding one of the most notable film festivals in the world, Van Wagenen produced the 1985 drama, the Academy Award-winning pic The Trip to Bountiful starring Geraldine Page and directed the 1992 film Alan & Naomi.
According to the Daily Utah Chronicle, he resigned as a professor at the University of Utah after a recording was released of him admitting to molesting a minor in 1993.
Van Wagenen is scheduled for a May 2 court hearing.
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