Kevin Spacey asks judge to dismiss Anthony Rapp sexual assault lawsuit

Actor Kevin Spacey attends a pretrial hearing at district court in Nantucket, Mass. Steven Senne/AP Photo

NOTE: This article contains graphic language that might disturb some readers. Please read at your own discretion.

On Friday, actor Kevin Spacey asked a judge to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit launched against him by Anthony Rapp, an actor who was 14 at the time of the alleged abuse.

Rapp sued Spacey in 2020 for assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In his lawsuit, Rapp claims that he was at a party at Spacey’s Manhattan home in 1986 when the then-26-year-old actor abused him. He recounts that Spacey grabbed his buttocks, lifted him onto a bed, and laid on top of him. The teenaged Rapp said he “was forced to extricate himself” out from under Spacey and left the party.

Spacey’s lawyers argued the alleged encounter cannot qualify as sexual abuse under New York’s laws because the only contact with an “intimate” part of the body by Spacey was when his hand grazed Rapp’s buttocks when the older actor picked him up. The lawyers said Rapp “wriggled out” with no resistance during an encounter of less than 30 seconds.

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The lawyers wrote that there is no evidence to suggest that Spacey put hands on Rapp’s buttocks for the purpose of sexual gratification, or to degrade or abuse the actor. They say the lack of evidence means Rapp’s lawsuit should be thrown out.

Speaking through his lawyers, Spacey “flatly denies” the events that Rapp described.

Lawyers for Rapp have not yet responded to the motion.

Rapp was part of the original Broadway run for Rent and he is currently a main cast member on Star Trek: Discovery.

After the actor first spoke out about his abuse experience in 2017, over a dozen more alleged victims of Spacey’s came forward. At the time, Spacey tweeted that he didn’t remember the encounter with Rapp but offered him his “sincerest apology.”

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Recently, Rapp’s lawyers have been trying to transfer their lawsuit out of federal court, saying that Spacey cannot claim he has been living in Maryland and qualifies for the diversity of citizenship necessary to remain out of state court.

In fact, they argue, he has been mostly living in London since 2003.

Rapp’s lawyers claim that Spacey only resided in Maryland when he was acting in House of Cards between 2014 and 2017.

Just days after Rapp went public with his allegations, the Emmy and Oscar-winning actor was fired from his lead role on the show.

Former House of Cards staff alleged that Spacey created a “toxic” work environment on the show and one ex-employee also claimed that Spacey sexually assaulted him.

A criminal case brought against the actor, an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from the alleged groping of an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket resort, was dismissed by Massachusetts prosecutors in 2019.

— With files from the Associated Press

If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.

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