The Unusual Suspect: Spacey Walks Again
A court in London recently found American actor and alleged sex offender Kevin Spacey not guilty of the charges for which he's been under much heat. Spacey, an actor once known for his portrayal of acerbic criminals, Southern politicians, and the occasional serial killer, has gained a significantly less Oscar-worthy reputation in recent years: that of a serial sexual predator. This latest acquittal has saved him from legal consequences in the U.K. (for now), but whether it will do anything to redeem him in the public eye remains to be seen.
Spacey's Bad Rapp
The first allegations against Spacey came in 2017 from actor Anthony Rapp, who accused Spacey of making a sexual advance on him when he was just 14. In 2022 a jury in New York ruled that Rapp hadn’t provided sufficient proof that Spacey had committed sexual assault or battery. An anonymous artist (someone who was initially a plaintiff on Rapp’s civil lawsuit, but later dropped out when their anonymity was compromised) claimed that Spacey pursued a sexual relationship with Rapp. At the time of this alleged relationship, Rapp was 14 years old and Spacey was 24.
An avalanche of accusations against Spacey followed Rapp’s initial revelation. Spacey was accused of grooming a 17-year-old and acting in a sexually inappropriate manner: a woman named Kate Edwards claimed Spacey tried to pressure her into sex when she was 17. In addition, a man named Justin Dawes alleged that Spacey gave him alcohol and played gay pornography for him when Dawes was 16. There were anonymous accusations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, unwanted oral sex, and inappropriate groping.
The list of accusations is extensive, even for someone who's been in the public eye for as long as Spacey and comparable to some public figures who have made recent headlines for similar allegations. In all, more than 30 men came forward to accuse Spacey of varying degrees of sexual impropriety, which makes one wonder: how can such a long list of accusations not result in any kind of criminal conviction?
Cases Come to Nothing
This latest verdict came on Spacey’s 64th birthday—which isn’t germane to the case, but it does mean he’s already gotten his big present this year. It was the latest in a line of acquittals and dismissals in the cases brought against him in the United Kingdom and States, respectively.
Spacey’s London acquittal may mark the end of his legal troubles regarding his alleged sexual impropriety. He remains accused of dozens of incidents of sexual harassment, unwanted sexual touching of the bodies and genitals of many young men, and a few instances of outright sexual assault by way of unwanted fellatio.
An impartial observer would be hard-pressed to deny every allegation against Spacey or categorize them as the bitter accusations of former colleagues or employees. The sheer volume of accusations and their consistency would tend to weigh a jury against his favor. And yet, most of the allegations against Spacey didn’t make it to criminal or civil court. Some were reported after the statute of limitations passed. Others relied on verbal testimony without physical evidence, which would be difficult to prove in court. As for the allegations which were recent, provable, and severe enough to make it to court, none of them have stuck so far.
- What is Sexual Harassment? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- The Differences Between a Criminal Case and a Civil Case (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Kevin Spacey Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Assault (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice blog)
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