That’s a new one, but it just might work. Actor Kevin Spacey is on trial in London for the sexual assault of four men. This is not to be confused with the accusations that he sexually groomed a young boy. So it’ll be a tougher one to win.
The prosecutor made his opening case in a most novel way, as the NY Times notes. Christine Agnew called Spacey a “sexual bully who delights in making others feel powerless and uncomfortable.”
All of the supposed victims said Spacey had grabbed their crotches without their consent. But one man has a more serious claim. He said Spacey performed oral sex on his while he was asleep.
Spacey has pled not guilty to all of the charges before him. He’s facing 12 in total, centered around his time as art director of the Old Vic Theater in London from 2001 to 2013.
In Britain, unlike in the US, it’s illegal to name the potential victims in a sexual assault case, so little is known about them. His attorney warned the jury that they’d be hearing “some half truths, some deliberate exaggerations, and many damned lies.”
Much of the prosecution hinders of various police calls, which we’ll learn more about as the trial progresses. In one instance, he told an officer it was “entirely possible” that he made a clumsy pass but that he would have never touched anyone’s crotch without an “indication of consent.”
That’s where this all gets sticky. If there were overtures or movements for Spacey to grab the crotch, then it might not be sexual assault. But if Spacey was using his power to pressure, then it might be. The “sexual bully” helps strengthen the latter narrative. And when it’s not a rape case, this stuff becomes harder to prove. Watch this set a trend for prosecutors when dealing with somewhat less consequential sexual assault cases. The personality of the supposed perpetrator will mean everything and hey, “sexual bully” does have a nice wring to it.