Actor Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to sexual offenses

LONDON, July 14 (Reuters) – Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey will face trial in London next year after pleading not guilty on Thursday to sex offense charges dating back nearly 20 years.

Spacey is charged with five offenses in Britain – four counts of sexual assault by touching and a more serious charge of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent. Prosecutors say Spacey forced a man to perform oral sex.

Speaking plainly, the 62-year-old American actor and producer, whose name has been given as Kevin Spacey Fowler, said he was ‘not guilty’ when each of the charges was brought against him at the Old Bailey Central Criminal Court in London.

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Wearing glasses and a light blue suit, he sat impassive in the dock during the 20-minute hearing as a trial date of June 6 next year was agreed.

“Thank you my Lord,” he told the judge at the end of the hearing. He was released on unconditional bail.

If convicted of sexual assault, Spacey could face a six-month prison sentence or an unlimited fine, while the most serious offense carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Police said the alleged assaults took place between March 2005 and April 2013 – four in the UK capital and one in Gloucestershire, west England. They involved a man who is now in his 40s and two men who are now in their 30s.

Once one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Spacey has largely disappeared from public view since being accused of sexual misconduct five years ago.

The 62-year-old, who won Oscars for Best Actor in ‘American Beauty’ and Best Supporting Actor in ‘The Usual Suspects’, has been cut from ‘House of Cards’ TV show and removed of the movie “All the Money in the World” after the charges came to light.

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Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Alex Richardson

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