By Max Saltman
The University released a statement on June 23 regarding the arrest of Sewanee alumnus Charles “Chuck” Nabit (C’77) on federal sex-trafficking charges. Nabit and his wife Mary Kay are the namesakes of the University’s Nabit Art Building on Georgia Avenue, erected in 2005.
The University’s statement reads as follows:
“The University of the South is aware of the recent arrest of an alumnus, who has been charged under federal law with promoting a prostitution business. The charges are very serious and the alleged facts underlying them are profoundly disturbing. Noting the presumption of innocence of the accused in the judicial system, the University will closely follow the adjudication of this case. We will assess what actions may be appropriate for us to take at a later date pending the legal resolution of this matter.”
A separate statement said that “the University will not take any action with regard to the Nabit Art Building at this time. The naming (or renaming) of programs and places on campus is within the purview and responsibility of the Board of Regents. We will assess what steps are appropriate at a later date pending the resolution of the case.”
The University further noted that the word “resolution” may not only refer to the end of Nabit’s trial, and that other circumstances might warrant the Board of Regents viewing the issue as “resolved.”
The federal government accuses Nabit of paying over $90,000 to a sex trafficking ring allegedly led by Deangelo Johnson in Baltimore. Beginning in March 2019, the investigation numbered 52 alleged interactions between Nabit and victims, including some at the financier’s downtown Baltimore office.
One victim alleged that after Johnson’s arrest in October 2019, Nabit began paying victims less, knowing that Johnson’s absence and the victims’ drug addictions would mean they were “desperate for money.” Nabit, a former chair of the Board of Regents, allegedly rebuffed one victim’s request for money and a hotel room, writing, “Go the F away loser; I had $500 for you if you showed up. Not now.”
Nabit, who has pleaded not guilty, could face up to five years in federal prison if convicted.