Spacey to face sex assault case in Nantucket courtroom

In this file photo taken, Kevin Spacey arrives at the season 4 premiere screening of the Netflix show
In this file photo taken, Kevin Spacey arrives at the season 4 premiere screening of the Netflix show "House of Cards" in Washington, DC. — AFP

NANTUCKET, Mass. — Former "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey is set to appear in a Massachusetts court to face a criminal charge that he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old male after plying him with alcohol at a bar in Nantucket more than two years ago.

The Oscar-winning actor is scheduled to be arraigned in Nantucket District Court after being charged last month with one count of felony indecent assault and battery. Spacey has said in court papers that he plans to plead not guilty.

He had tried to avoid appearing in person at the hearing, on the beach resort island of Nantucket off the Massachusetts coast, saying in court papers that his "presence will amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with this case."

Nantucket, normally quiet in early January, was packed with broadcast trucks on Monday.

Spacey became embroiled in controversy in October 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused him of trying to seduce him in 1986 when Rapp was 14.

Spacey apologized for any inappropriate conduct with Rapp. The controversy led to Spacey, who won an Academy Award in 2000 for his role in "American Beauty," being dropped from the Netflix television series "House of Cards" and erased from the film "All the Money in the World."

The Nantucket allegations were first raised in November 2017 by former Boston television journalist Heather Unruh, who told reporters Spacey groped her teenage son on July 7, 2016, at the Club Car restaurant and bar, where he worked as a bus boy.

Spacey's lawyers had hoped to avoid having him charged, noting at a hearing last month that the teenager did not immediately report the incident, had lied to Spacey by saying he was 23 and had been drinking heavily that night.

A clerk magistrate rejected those arguments. If convicted, Spacey faces up to five years in prison. — Reuters