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Groping lawsuit against Kevin Spacey dropped, but actor still faces criminal charge in Massachusetts

Key Points
  • A young man who said Kevin Spacey groped him in a Nantucket, Massachusetts, bar in 2016 dismisses his civil lawsuit against the Academy Award-winning actor. He still faces criminal charges connected to the case.
  • The suit is dismissed with prejudice, meaning Spacey's accuser cannot refile the case later.
  • The accuser is the son of Heather Unruh, a Boston TV anchor. According to Unruh, Spacey allegedly got the man drunk and sexually assaulted him at the Club Car restaurant where he worked.
Actor Kevin Spacey arrives at district court on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Nantucket, Mass., to be arraigned on a charge of indecent assault and battery.
Steven Senne | AP

A young man who said actor Kevin Spacey got him drunk and then groped him in a Nantucket, Massachusetts, bar in 2016 dismissed his civil lawsuit against the Academy Award winner on Friday.

But Spacey still faces a criminal case related to the man's allegation. The "House of Cards" star pleaded not guilty to indecent assault and battery in January.

Tara Miltimore, a prosecutor in the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office, in an email to CNBC said, "The criminal case is independent of the civil case and will go forward."

The lawsuit's dismissal came three days before the accuser and his parents were due to appear in court for the criminal case to answer questions about the accuser's missing cell phone, which Spacey's lawyers have said would prove his innocence.

The civil suit against the 59-year-old Spacey was filed on June 26 in Nantucket Superior Court. The accuser's suit sought unspecified damages for "severe and permanent mental distress and emotional injuries."

Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer for the accuser, said in an email that the suit was voluntarily dismissed Friday.

The suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning Garabedian's client cannot refile the case later.

The suit also was dismissed without either side having to pay the other's legal costs.

It is not clear if Spacey and the accuser reached a financial settlement of the accuser's claims.

Garabedian declined to comment further on the dismissal, citing the pending criminal case.

A hearing in that criminal case is scheduled for Monday.

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The judge in that criminal case has ordered Garabedian, the accuser and his parents to appear in court Monday if they cannot locate the accuser's missing cell phone. Spacey's lawyer has said the phone contains text messages that would prove the actor's innocence.

Garabedian has said the family is unable to locate the phone.

CNBC is not identifying the accuser because of the nature of his claims against Spacey.

A representative for Spacey, who won the 2000 Academy Award for Best Actor in "American Beauty," did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment Friday.

Spacey's lawyers previously have said the accuser and his family "have a significant financial motive to fabricate" the allegations given Spacey's "status as a public figure."

Garabedian's client is the son of Heather Unruh, a Boston TV anchor.

According to Unruh, Spacey allegedly got her son drunk and sexually assaulted him in July 2016 at the Club Car restaurant, where he worked as a bus boy.

The accuser was 18 years old at the time of the incident.

Spacey's acting career skidded to a halt in fall 2017 after actor Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed that Spacey had made a sexual advance toward him at a party in Rapp in 1986, when Rapp was just 14 years old.

Spacey said on Twitter that he did not remember the incident, but apologized at "what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."

Netflix suspended production of "House of Cards" on the heels of Rapp's claim, and soon after severed ties with Spacey, who had played President Frank Underwood on the series.

The final season of "House of Cards" aired last year, without Spacey appearing.

Additional reporting by Jim Forkin