Judge orders Kevin Spacey accuser to reveal his identity in order to continue with lawsuit

Judge orders Kevin Spacey accuser to reveal his identity

Judge orders Kevin Spacey accuser to reveal his identity in order to continue with lawsuit Photo

A man accusing Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey of sexually abusing him in the 1980s when he was 14 cannot proceed anonymously in court, a judge ruled today.

US District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in Manhattan refused to let the man proceed only as “C.D.” in a lawsuit filed in September in New York state court and later moved to federal court.

The man had met Spacey in the actors suburban New York acting class before the alleged abuse, according to the lawsuit which seeks over US$40 million (NZ$55.5 million) in damages.

Kaplan said C.D.’s privacy interest does not outweigh the presumption of open judicial proceedings and the prejudice to Spaceys defence that would occur if he could proceed anonymously. Individuals with information that might support Spacey also would not know to come forward, the judge added.

C.D. since the 1990s had spoken to an unknown number of people about his claims against Spacey and had apparently cooperated for a New York magazine article that appeared on an online website, Vulture, in November 2017, Kaplan said.

He said: “The evidence suggests that C.D. knowingly and repeatedly took the risk that any of these individuals at one point or another would reveal his true identity in a manner that would bring that identity to wide public attention.”

Kaplan noted that C.D. also recruited for the lawsuit his co-plaintiff, Anthony Rapp, who has appeared in Rent on Broadway and in Star Trek: Discovery on television. The lawsuit said the older actor made a sexual advance to a teenage Rapp at a 1980s party.

When Rapp first spoke publicly of his claim in 2017, others went public too and Spacey’s then-celebrated career abruptly halted. At the time, Spacey issued a statement saying he didn’t remember the encounter but apologised.

The judge said claims by C.D.s lawyers that using their clients name would trigger post traumatic stress disorder and the anxiety, nightmares and depression that come with it is a consequence that likely cannot be prevented as the case proceeds and C.D. is ultimately forced to testify in public.

In an early March letter to the judge, attorney Peter Saghir said C.D. feels “extreme anxiety and psychological distress at even the thought of being required to proceed publicly” and had reluctantly decided to drop his claims if Kaplan ordered him to proceed publicly.

Saghir and other lawyers for C.D. did not return requests for comment today. Neither did lawyers for Spacey, who won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in American Beauty, a 1999 film in which he played a frustrated suburban father who lusts after his daughters best friend.

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