Anthony Rapp is pushing back against Kevin Spacey’s recent demand that Rapp’s sex abuse lawsuit be terminated on the grounds that his alleged 1986 assault wasn’t serious enough to qualify for revival under the Child Victim’s Act.
In a new court filing obtained by Rolling Stone, Rapp rejects Spacey’s March 4 assertion that the law “requires” a plaintiff to allege “squeezing, grabbing or pinching of a sexual or other intimate part” for sexual gratification or abuse in order to invoke the CVA and overcome an otherwise expired statute of limitations.
Rapp and his lawyers argue in the new filing that Rapp’s “extensive testimony” claiming Spacey “grazed” and touched his buttocks while picking him up and putting him on a bed while he was a “14-year-old child” and the American Beauty actor was a 26-year-old “grown man” is enough to send the case to trial. As precedent, they cite two New York state cases where men were convicted of third-degree sex abuse for walking up to women on subway cars and “brushing” or “grazing” their buttocks with outstretched hands for the purpose of sexual gratification. Both cases were held up on appeal.
“According to [Spacey], a grown man who picks up a minor child, lays him down on a bed, and presses his groin into the child is not evidence that a touching occurred and that the acts were performed for sexual gratification pursuant to Article 130 of New York’s penal law,” Rapp’s new filing reads. “Under defendant’s sanitized version of the facts, defendant argues Mr. Rapp’s claims against him do not constitute a violation of [the law] and are therefore not revived by the Child Victims Act. One thing is clear in this case — Mr. Rapp and defendant have two very different versions of the facts.”
Rapp first sued Spacey in September 2020 after stepping forward with his account in a 2017 BuzzFeed story. In the blockbuster BuzzFeed report, Rapp alleged that Spacey, whose legal name is Kevin Fowler, assaulted him in a Manhattan apartment after befriending him when they both worked on Broadway and inviting him to a social gathering. Rapp claimed a visibly intoxicated Spacey picked him up, placed him on a bed, climbed on top of him and made a sexual advance before Rapp was able to “squirm” away.
Rapp, best known for his roles in the original cast of Broadway’s Rent and for his work on Star Trek: Discovery, was able to file his lawsuit decades later once the CVA opened a two-year “look back window” in 2019 that allowed people sexually abused as minors to take civil action against the people or institutions responsible for their alleged mistreatment.
In the wake of Rapp’s allegations, Spacey released a statement saying he couldn’t remember the incident, but “if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.” Spacey then stated publicly for the first time that he had been in relationships with both men and women but considers himself “a gay man.”
In his response filings after Rapp sued, Spacey, 62, changed his position to state Rapp’s allegations are “false and never occurred.” And even if they did occur, they’re not serious enough to warrant revival under the CVA, Spacey and his lawyers argue in his March 4 motion for summary judgment.
“Plaintiff’s allegations amount to a claim Mr. Fowler surprised him by picking him up, putting him on a bed, and putting some of his body weight against him, before plaintiff ‘wriggled out’ with no resistance. According to plaintiff, the entire incident took no more than one minute. By plaintiff’s own admission, there was no groping, no kissing, no undressing, no reaching under clothes, and no sexualized statements or innuendo,” Spacey’s filing says.
Rapp’s response paperwork filed late Friday argues that Spacey’s intent is easily “inferred” when viewed in context. “While defendant was alone with Mr. Rapp in a bedroom, he picked up Mr. Rapp and touched his buttocks, laid him on a bed, clutched Mr. Rapp’s shoulders, and pressed his legs and groin into Mr. Rapp’s hips and his chest into Mr. Rapp’s chest,” the new filing reads.
The paperwork also highlights “other unwanted and unconsented to sexual acts” that Spacey allegedly “inflicted on other people.” It specifically points to allegations from Justin Dawes, a fellow accuser who claims Spacey invited him over for a questionable house party in Connecticut in 1988, when Dawes was 16 years old and the actor was 29.
Dawes agreed to provide testimony in Rapp’s case and answered questions during a Zoom deposition last December. According to excerpts of the deposition submitted to the court Friday, Dawes stated under oath that Spacey invited him and a friend to what they thought was a larger social gathering but what turned out to be just the three of them. Dawes said Spacey gave them two mixed alcoholic drinks each as gay pornography played on a television nearby. Dawes testified that after his friend left the room to possibly use the bathroom, Spacey reached out and touched him as they sat on a sofa.
“At one point his hand was on my leg. You know, I thought it was mildly uncomfortable,” Dawes testified, according to the transcript. “I thought it was a kind of, you know, probing of a sexual nature to see how comfortable I was with that. I don’t remember really reacting in any way. I just kind of — just kind of froze.” Dawes said he and the friend left a short time later after realizing no other party attendees were expected.
Rapp’s Friday filing also points to other allegations from accuser Andrew Holtzman, which were first reported in USA Today. Holtzman previously alleged that Spacey forcibly groped him during the summer of 1981 when they were in an office of the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater. According to Rapp’s filing, Spacey grabbed Holtzman’s crotch and began “rubbing, grinding his erection” on Holtzman.
“The sexual acts by defendant on Mr. Holtzman and Mr. Dawes allow a reasonable person to infer that defendant’s actions toward Mr. Rapp were to gratify defendant’s sexual desire,” Rapp’s opposition to Spacey’s motion for summary judgment reads.
Last month, the court denied Spacey’s request to block Dawes from testifying at trial. The court said while it was true that Dawes didn’t mention Spacey placing his hand on his knee in an initial written narrative to BuzzFeed and that Dawes’ friend’s account of the incident “does not seem to corroborate the alleged touching of Mr. Dawes,” it was “premature” to rule on whether his testimony should be excluded.
A trial in the case has been set for October.
From Rolling Stone US