Kevin Spacey in court to face charges of groping teenager

Published: January 08, 2019 14:14:40 | Updated: January 11, 2019 14:04:35

Photo: Collected

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

A not-guilty plea was entered on the two-time Oscar winner's behalf by his lawyers during the hearing in the US state of Massachusetts.

He is accused of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old male after plying him with alcohol at a bar in Nantucket in 2016.

Assault claims against him have also surfaced in London and Los Angeles.

What happened in court?

Spacey, 59, was mobbed by media as he arrived at the packed courtroom on the normally sleepy resort island of Nantucket on Monday after arriving by private jet.

The actor nodded when Judge Thomas Barrett told him he was not allowed to contact the alleged victim.

A lawyer for Spacey - whose legal name is Kevin S Fowler - had earlier asked the judge to allow the hearing to happen without the defendant present, but that request was refused.

He was released without having to pay bail after a 10-minute hearing.

The judge scheduled the next court date for 4 March. If found guilty, he could face up to five years in prison.

What are the charges?

Prosecutors announced on 24 December that Spacey would be charged with indecent assault and battery stemming from an incident at the Club Car restaurant in Nantucket.

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

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

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

According to prosecutors, the teenager told police that the actor had groped him as they stood together at a piano.

He told police that he had video of the incident, and had sent a clip via the Snapchat app to his girlfriend.

Spacey's legal team say the video does not prove his guilt.

During Monday's hearing, his lawyer Alan Jackson successfully argued the alleged victim must not delete material from his phone.

This was a journey Kevin Spacey didn't want to make, and having touched down on this jet set island in a private plane, he waited on the tarmac until the final moment before making the short drive to his first appearance in court.

His legal team argued he shouldn't have to appear in person, because of the negative publicity that's already surrounded this case. But the actor who's spent so much of his working life in front of the cameras, found it impossible today to avoid them. He entered by a side entrance, outfoxing some of the camera operators and photographers who had staked out positions over the weekend, but by no means all of them.

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