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Kevin Spacey must stand trial in federal court in sex abuse civil suit, judge rules

Spacey previously addressed Anthony Rapp’s allegations, saying he does not remember but apologizes “for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”
Image: Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey at a pretrial hearing in Nantucket, Mass., on June 3, 2019. Steven Senne / AP file

Actor Kevin Spacey must stand trial in a New York federal court after a lawsuit accused him of sexual assault, a judge ruled Monday.

The civil suit, which was filed by actor Anthony Rapp, accuses Spacey, whose real name is Kevin Spacey Fowler, of climbing on top of Rapp in a bedroom at a 1986 party in New York. Rapp said he was 14 at the time. Spacey would have been 26 or 27.

Rapp alleged that Spacey "lifted him up, that Mr. Fowler's hand 'grazed' Mr. Rapp's clothed buttocks for seconds as he did so, that Mr. Fowler placed Mr. Rapp back-down on a bed, and Mr. Fowler then briefly placed his own clothed body partially beside and partially across Mr. Rapp's," according to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan’s order.

Rapp "wriggled out" and left the room, the order states.

Rapp testified at a deposition that there was "no kissing, no undressing, no reaching under clothes, and no sexualized statements or innuendo," according to the order. He said the encounter lasted no more than two minutes, the order states.

Spacey, 62, addressed the allegations in a 2017 tweet, writing that he did not remember the alleged encounter.

"If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years," Spacey wrote, in part.

The judge wrote that "there is a genuine issue of material facts as to whether Mr. Fowler engaged in forcible touching of Mr. Rapp's 'intimate parts.'" He went on to say the common law assault allegation was dismissed because of the statute of limitations.

Rapp can pursue his claims on battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, Kaplan ruled.

Spacey and Rapp could not immediately be reached Tuesday for comment.

Spacey also faced a 2019 lawsuit filed by a man who accused him of groping him at a bar. The accusation was first raised in 2017, when former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh said Spacey got her then-18-year-old son drunk and sexually assaulted him at a restaurant and bar on Nantucket where the teen worked as a busboy. Spacey denied the allegations and pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery charges stemming from the alleged assault.

Spacey also faces accusations in the U.K., where detectives have been authorized to charge him with four counts of sexual assault against three men, the Metropolitan Police in London said May 26 in a statement.

He also faces a charge of “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent,” the statement said.

Spacey, who said he will “voluntarily appear” in U.K. courts to face the charges, told NBC News he is “confident” he can prove his innocence.