The judge presiding over a sexual assault lawsuit against Kevin Spacey officially dismissed one accuser’s legal claims against the actor on Thursday, after the accuser refused to openly use his name in court proceedings. The accuser, identified in court papers as C.D., had previously spoken to Vulture about his allegations.
The Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit against Spacey was filed in September 2020 by C.D. and Anthony Rapp; both alleged that Spacey had sexually assaulted them on separate occasions when they were 14 years old. Although a judge dismissed C.D.’s claims against Spacey, Rapp’s legal claims are ongoing.
Spacey’s lawyers did learn C.D.’s identity, but they had argued that he shouldn’t be allowed to proceed with his case anonymously—and specifically cited his conversation with Vulture during a February 2 proceeding.
“C.D. has chosen to come forward, and he’s chosen to come forward to make his allegations public,” one of Spacey’s lawyers argued during that telephone conference. “He shouldn’t be permitted to proceed anonymously.”
Spacey’s lawyers were referring specifically to the November 2017 article, which came out shortly after Rapp came forward with allegations against Spacey in a BuzzFeed News interview. In this interview, the man claimed that at the age of 14, he and Spacey began a sexual relationship which culminated in an attempted rape. “I have worked really hard to have a nice life and feel safe, and I’m not giving that up for him,” the man remarked in remaining anonymous for the article. “I don’t want them to be able to find their way back to me.”
During the early February proceeding, Spacey’s attorneys discussed the reporting process in arguing that C.D. shouldn’t be permitted to proceed with initials. “He disclosed his name, obviously, to the magazine,” they remarked during the February proceeding. “He also allowed the magazine to use his name to speak with people close to him.”
They maintained that C.D. “used the media to advance his case strategically” and that there was “no compelling reason” to let him proceed anonymously.
C.D.’s lawyers responded that “Kevin Spacey attempted to rape a 14-year-old boy, and that’s what this case is about…The plaintif C.D. never disclosed his name to the general public.”
They claimed that since this article came out, C.D.’s name was “nowhere on the internet associated with Kevin Spacey” and “has been kept in confidence.”
Judge Lewis Kaplan decided on May 3 that “the threat of significant media attention—however exacerbated by the modern era—alone does not entitle a plaintiff to the exceptional remedy of anonymity…”
“Accordingly, C.D.’s privacy interest—despite the publicity this case may generate—does not outweigh the prejudice to Spacey and the presumption of open judicial proceedings.”
In Kaplan’s decision, he said that C.D. had 10 days to file an amended complaint—with his name. In a May 13 letter, C.D.’s lawyers told Kaplan that he wouldn’t file new paperwork with his name, and understood that it might result in the case’s dismissal. C.D., they said, “believes he is unable to withstand the scrutiny and intrusion into his life if his identity is revealed in this matter…the sudden unwanted attention that revelation of his identity will cause is simply too much for him to bear.”
Lawyers for both sides said “no comment” when asked about the development.
According to C.D.’s now-dismissed legal claims, he was about 12 years old in 1981, the year he claimed to have met Spacey. Spacey was teaching an acting course in Westchester County; C.D. was “an acting student in the class,”the suit stated.
Approximately two years later, C.D. “happened to meet” the actor in New York City, the lawsuit claimed, and Spacey then invited him to his apartment. Spacey “engaged in sexual acts with the plaintiff, C.D., while the plaintiff was 14 years old, including, but not limited to, the infant plaintiff performing anal intercourse on defendant Spacey and oral sex.”
The actor “continued to engage in sexual acts on different occasions with the plaintiff,” who was around 14-years-old at the time. “During the final sexual encounter, the defendant, Kevin Spacey, for the first time, attempted to anally sodomize the plaintiff, C.D., who was then a minor,” the suit claimed. “The plaintiff, C.D., resisted and said ‘No’ multiple times, but the defendant, Kevin Spacey, continued to attempt to anally sodomize the infant plaintiff despite the plaintiff’s verbal and physical resistance.”