Actor Anthony Rapp sues Kevin Spacey for sexual misconduct in 1980s

By Jill Serjeant

(Reuters) - Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey was accused in a civil lawsuit on Wednesday of sexual assault and battery in the 1980s by actor Anthony Rapp and a second, unnamed person when both plaintiffs were about 14.

The suit, filed in New York state court in Manhattan, refers to the same alleged incident that Rapp first recounted in an October 2017 BuzzFeed interview that triggered Spacey's fall from grace in Hollywood.

Spacey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The actor, who won Oscars for the films "American Beauty" and "The Usual Suspects" and a Golden Globe for the TV political drama "House of Cards," has largely retreated from public life in the past three years.

Spacey in 2017 said he did not remember the encounter Rapp described but added, "If I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."

Spacey, now 61, came out as gay in 2017.

Rapp, best known for starring in the Broadway musical "Rent," alleged in the lawsuit that Spacey "engaged in an unwanted sexual advance" with him when he was 14, during a party at Spacey's home in 1986.

The second person, identified only as C.D., alleged that he and Spacey had oral and anal sex and engaged in other sexual acts on several occasions in the early 1980s when the plaintiff was approximately 14 years old.

Both men are seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress.

Rapp's initial accusation, part of the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct, led to Spacey being dropped from "House of Cards" and his scenes in the movie "All the Money in the World" were re-shot with actor Christopher Plummer.

Rapp and the second man filed their lawsuit under New York's 2019 Child Victims Act, their lawyer Peter J. Saghir said. The act gave people one year, later extended to two, to sue over sexual abuse allegations regardless of when they occurred.

"This lawsuit sends a strong message that no matter how wealthy, powerful or famous you may be you are not above the law," Saghir said in a statement.

Prosecutors in Massachusetts in 2019 dropped criminal charges against Spacey of felony indecent assault and battery involving an 18 year-old man in a bar in 2016. Spacey had pleaded not guilty. The case was dropped after the alleged victim declined to testify.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Howard Goller)