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Sexual harassment and assault

Actor Kevin Spacey faces Massachusetts court, pleads not guilty to sexual assault of teenage waiter

  • Kevin Spacey was arraigned on a charge of felony indecent assault and battery
  • He has been ordered to stay away from his accuser and his accuser’s family
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 2:55am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2019, 9:50pm

Actor Kevin Spacey has faced a Massachusetts court, where his lawyers entered a not guilty plea on his behalf on charges he groped an 18-year-old waiter in 2016.

The disgraced actor was arraigned on a charge of felony indecent assault and battery during a hearing at Nantucket District Court on Monday. The judge set another hearing for March 4. Spacey does not have to appear, the judge ruled, but said he needs to be available by phone.

Spacey must stay away from his accuser and his accuser’s family, the judge also ordered.

The judge granted a request by Spacey’s lawyers to preserve the victim’s cellphone data from the six months following the alleged assault. Spacey’s lawyer Alan Jackson said there was data that was “likely exculpatory” for Spacey.

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Spacey and his lawyers declined to comment as they left the courthouse amid a crush of reporters

The hearing comes more than a year after a former Boston TV anchor accused the former House of Cards star of sexually assaulting her son, then 18, in the crowded bar at the Club Car, where he worked.

Jackson has noted that the teenager didn’t immediately report the allegations. If convicted, Spacey faces as many as five years in prison.

The civil lawyer for the accuser said in a statement ahead of the hearing that his client was “leading by example”.

“By reporting the sexual assault, my client is a determined and encouraging voice for those victims not yet ready to report being sexually assaulted,” said lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented hundreds of clergy sexual abuse victims.

Garabedian is not a part of the criminal case against Spacey.

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Media trucks lined the street before dawn, and locals on the island, which teems with tourists in the summer but quiets down in the winter, drove by slowly to take photos of reporters standing in line in the cold.

When the doors opened, more than two dozen journalists packed the courtroom hours before Spacey was scheduled to appear.

It’s the first criminal case brought against Spacey, 59, since other allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced against him in 2017.

A judge denied Spacey’s bid to avoid appearing in person on Monday. Spacey had argued his presence would “amplify the negative publicity already generated” by the case.

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Television anchor Heather Unruh told reporters in November 2017 that Spacey got her son drunk and then grabbed his genitals during the incident. She said her son fled the restaurant when Spacey went to the bathroom.

After the charge was announced last month, Spacey released a video in the voice of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix’s House of Cards, in which he said, “I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.” It was unclear whether he was referring to the charge.

Spacey has also faced other allegations.

His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologised if the allegations were true.