LONDON (AP) — British prosecutors said Thursday they have authorized police to charge actor Kevin Spacey with four counts of sexually assaulting three men, an announcement that was made while the actor was in court from New York to testify in another case.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it had “allowed criminal charges” on all four counts of sexual assault and one for “causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent”.
The alleged incidents took place in London between March 2005 and August 2008, and one in the west of England in April 2013. The alleged victims are now in their 30s and 40s.
Rosemary Ainslie, head of the service’s Special Crimes Division, said the charges followed a review of evidence gathered by London’s Metropolitan Police.
Prosecutors initially said Spacey had been charged. However, they later clarified that the charges had been authorized, but that the formal charge by the police had not yet taken place.
The leave to charge means that criminal charges against Spacey are pending. Police said Spacey – who is not currently in Britain – “will be formally charged at a later date”.
If Spacey does not return to Britain to face charges, prosecutors could seek to initiate extradition proceedings.
Spacey, a 62-year-old two-time Oscar winner, was questioned by British police in 2019 over claims by several men that he assaulted them. The former ‘House of Cards’ star ran London’s Old Vic Theater between 2004 and 2015.
Spacey won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for the 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” and the Academy Award for Lead Actor for the 1999 film “American Beauty.”
But his famous career came to an abrupt halt in 2017 when actor Anthony Rapp accused the star of assaulting him at a party in the 1980s when Rapp was a teenager. Spacey denies the allegations.
Spacey testified Thursday in a New York courtroom in Rapp’s civil lawsuit. Spacey did not respond to reporters as he left the courthouse talking on his cellphone.
The UK charges were briefly mentioned by Rapp’s lawyers during the hearing, and Spacey’s lawyers were questioned about them by reporters during a break in testimony. They declined to comment.
Another criminal case brought against Spacey, 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.
Thursday’s court session in New York dealt with a technical issue in the civil trial, whether it was best dealt with in US federal or state court. Spacey was called to testify about where he lived, not whether the allegations against him were true.
Spacey said his primary residence and home is in Baltimore, where he moved for the filming of “House of Cards.” He said he was “seduced by her charm, her beauty”. But he also testified to his stay in London as artistic director of the Old Vic.
“It was hugely important to me that I endeared myself to British audiences, that I didn’t run away,” he said, noting that his debut there was marred by a “disastrous production” in 2005. of Arthur Miller’s last play.
But, he says, “I am an American citizen. Once the work was done, I returned to America.
He said he made a trip to London in February 2020 for a possible film, but then the pandemic hit. His American doctor recommended that he stay there, where he resided until the following September, when his visa expired and he flew to Los Angeles for arbitration proceedings.
He said he had not returned to the UK since then.
Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister contributed to this report from New York.
This story has been corrected to say that UK prosecutors cleared the charges against Spacey and that he will be formally charged by police later, not that Spacey has been formally charged, and to reflect that these are Rapp’s lawyers, and not those of Spacey, who raised the criminal charges in Search.