Entertainment

Kevin Spacey in court to face charges of groping teenage bus boy

The courthouse was packed as Spacey arrived from his private planeImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption The courthouse was packed as Spacey arrived from his private plane

Actor Kevin Spacey has appeared in court to face a charge of indecent assault and battery stemming from an allegation of groping in 2016.

The two-time Oscar winner was expected to plead not guilty during the court hearing on the Massachusetts resort island community of Nantucket.

Assault claims against him have also been investigated by police in London and Los Angeles.

On Christmas Eve, Spacey, 59, posted a video contesting the allegations.

In a video titled “Let Me Be Frank”, Mr Spacey appeared in character as Frank Underwood from the Netflix series House of Cards, and said: “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”

Wearing a grey suit and appearing composed, Mr Spacey arrived at the packed courtroom on Monday after arriving on his private jet.

He nodded in court when the judge told him he was not allowed to contact the victim.

Image copyright YouTube / @KevinSpacey
Image caption Mr Spacey posted a cryptic video in the style of his House of Cards character in December

His lawyer had earlier asked the judge to allow the hearing to happen without Mr Spacey present, but that request was refused.

The alleged victim is the son of former television news presenter Heather Unruh, who spoke publicly about the incident last year.

She accused Mr Spacey of buying her then 18-year-old son alcohol – the drinking age in Massachusetts is 21 – and then groping him.

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Media captionHeather Unruh speaks last year about the allegation

The victim, who is also suing Mr Spacey in civil court, will not be present during the criminal trial.

After a court hearing that lasted only 10 minutes, Judge Thomas Barrett scheduled the next court date for 4 March.

The BBC’s Nada Tawfik said from the Nantucket courthouse that the criminal charges against Mr Spacey mark one of the most stunning downfalls of the #MeToo movement.

His career offers dried up after he was accused by actor Anthony Rapp in 2017 of making a sexual advance on him in 1986 when Mr Rapp was 14 years old.

Mr Spacey said he had no memory of the event, but publicly apologised before issuing an “absolute” denial of all other allegations.

Separately, in September, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said Mr Spacey would not be prosecuted over an accusation of sexual assault that allegedly took place in 1992.

It said it fell outside of California’s statute of limitations.

UK police are also investigating several allegations that centre around his time serving as artistic director at London’s Old Vic theatre.

The controversy has led to Mr Spacey being axed from a number of roles, including from House of Cards and the 2017 film All the Money in the World, which was re-shot without him.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-46785147

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