BOSTON — Kevin Spacey has been charged with groping the 18-year-old son of a Boston TV anchor in 2016 — the first criminal case brought against the Oscar-winning actor since his career collapsed amid a string of sexual misconduct allegations over a year ago.
Spacey, 59, is due in court Jan. 7 on the resort island of Nantucket to be arraigned on a charge of indecent assault and battery, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said in a statement Monday. Spacey could get up to five years in prison if convicted.
A criminal complaint was issued by a clerk magistrate at a hearing Thursday, O’Keefe said.
Shortly after the charge became public, Spacey posted a video on YouTube titled “Let Me Be Frank,” breaking a public silence of more than a year.
In a monologue delivered in the voice of Frank Underwood, his character on Netflix’s “House of Cards” who was killed off after the sexual misconduct allegations emerged, he said: “Of course some believed everything and have just been waiting with bated breath to hear me confess it all; they’re just dying to have me declare that everything they said is true and I got what I deserved. … I’m certainly not going to pay the price for the thing I didn’t do.”
He added, “Soon enough, you will know the full truth.” The three-minute video ended with a burst of cliffhanger music.
A spokeswoman for the actor did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.
Former news anchor Heather Unruh came forward in November 2017 to say the actor stuck his hand down the pants of her son, who was 18 at the time, and grabbed his genitals at the Club Car Restaurant on Nantucket in July 2016. Her son fled the restaurant when Spacey went to use the bathroom, Unruh said at the time.
Unruh said her son didn’t report the assault right away because he was embarrassed.
“The complainant has shown a tremendous amount of courage in coming forward,” Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for Unruh’s son, said in a statement Monday. “Let the facts be presented, the relevant law applied and a just and fair verdict rendered.”
Spacey remains under investigation on suspicion of sexual assault in Los Angeles for an incident that allegedly occurred in 2016. Prosecutors declined to file charges over a 1992 allegation because the statute of limitations had run out.
He has also faced accusations of sexual misconduct from his time as artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre.
The two-time Oscar winner was among the earliest and biggest names to be ensnared in the #MeToo movement that was sparked by sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein in October 2017.
His first accuser, actor Anthony Rapp, said Spacey climbed on top of him on a bed when Rapp was 14 and Spacey 26. Spacey said he did not remember such an encounter but apologized if the allegations were true. Spacey also used the statement to disclose he is gay.
Other accusers followed Rapp’s lead.
Spacey was subsequently fired from “House of Cards,” the political drama in which he starred for five seasons, and his performance as the oil tycoon J. Paul Getty was cut from the completed movie “All the Money in the World” and reshot with actor Christopher Plummer. Some other projects he was involved in were shelved.
The case against Spacey represents a rare criminal prosecution in the #MeToo era. Weinstein is awaiting trial in New York, but many other cases have been too old to prosecute, and some accusers have declined to cooperate with authorities.
Dalton reported from Los Angeles.