A young man who accused Kevin Spacey of groping him at a resort island bar in 2016 filed a lawsuit against the actor, who is also fighting a criminal charge stemming from the alleged assault.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks unspecified damages for “severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries.”
The accusation was first brought in 2017 by former Boston TV anchor Heather Unruh, who said Spacey got her then 18-year-old son drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car, a restaurant and bar on Nantucket where the teen worked as a busboy.
Spacey, who has denied the groping the teen, pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in January. His lawyers have accused the man of lying in the hopes of winning money in a civil case against the two-time Oscar-winner.
Given Spacey’s “status as a public figure, (the accuser) and his family members have a significant financial motive to fabricate the instant allegations,” Attorney Alan Jackson said in court documents filed in the criminal case.
An email was sent Thursday requesting comment from Jackson.
The man told police he went over to talk to Spacey after his shift ended at the Club Car because he wanted to get a picture with the actor. He said Spacey bought him several drinks and tried to persuade him to come home with him before unzipping the man’s pants and groping him for about three minutes.
The accuser told police he tried to move Spacey’s hands, but the groping continued, and he didn’t know what to do because he didn’t want to get in trouble for drinking because he was underage. The man said he fled when Spacey went to the bathroom.
The lawsuit says the assault has left the man “unable to fully disclose in complete detail” the degree to which Spacey abused him “emotionally and physically.” The Associated Press does not typically identify people alleging sexual assault.
The criminal case against Spacey has centered on the cellphone used by the accuser the night of the alleged groping, which the defense says it needs to recover text messages it says will support Spacey’s claims of innocence.
Nantucket District Court Judge Thomas Barrett earlier this month ordered the man to hand the phone over to the defense, but his attorney said last week they cannot find it.
The judge has now given them until July 8 to produce the phone. Otherwise, the man, his parents and his lawyer must appear in court that day to explain what they know about its whereabouts.
It’s the only criminal case that has been brought against Spacey since several sexual misconduct allegations crippled his career in 2017.