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A former Boston TV news anchor held a press conference Wednesday to share her son’s allegation of sexual assault against Kevin Spacey.
Heather Unruh, an award-winning journalist who worked at the ABC-affiliated television station WCVB until 2016, was joined by her daughter, Kyla, and lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney depicted in Spotlight. Her son, Spacey’s alleged victim, was not present, and Unruh explained that the current climate is what spurred her son to give his permission for her to come forward about the alleged incident, which occurred last year.
“I have wanted to say something for a very long time, especially moments like when Kevin Spacey has the honor of hosting something like the Tony Awards and is celebrated as a man and an actor,” said Unruh, who initially took to Twitter on Oct. 13 to say that Spacey “assaulted a loved one.” Her social media posts gained traction and she told reporters after reading her statement that it was the ongoing women, and men, coming forward with their claims against figures like Harvey Weinstein that spurred her son to feel ready to publicly tell his story.
“The climate in this country is changing. There’s a shift,” she said. “There is less victim-blaming going on now. I was really emboldened by the victims in the Harvey Weinstein case. They were astonishingly brave women and they’ve come out in such large numbers and it sparked a lot of conversation in our house about it being the right time.”
Unruh detailed her son’s experience with Spacey when reading a pre-written statement.
In July of 2016, her 18-year-old son, she says, was sexually assaulted by Spacey inside the Club Car Restaurant on Nantucket. Unruh says her son, who was not of legal drinking age, told Spacey he was and that the actor “bought him drink after drink after drink.”
“My son was a starstruck, straight 18-year-old young man who had no idea that the famous actor was an alleged sexual predator or that he was about to become his next victim,” she said. “When my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him.”
Unruh made it clear her son did not give consent and called Spacey’s actions a criminal act.
“Spacey stuck his hand inside my son’s pants and grabbed his genitals,” she said through tears. “My son’s efforts to shift his body to remove Spacey’s hand were only momentarily successful. My son panicked, he froze. He was intoxicated.”
Still, she says Spacey insisted her son join him at a private after-hours party for more drinking. When he got up to go to the bathroom, a concerned stranger at the bar approached her son. The woman “told him to run and he did. He ran as fast as he could” to his nearby grandmother’s house, where he, “upset and afraid,” woke up his sister and the pair called Unruh, who was in her Boston home. She joined them on Nantucket the next day.
“Nothing could have prepared my son for how that sexual assault would make him feel as a man,” she said of her child, who is now a sophomore in college. “It harmed him and it cannot be undone. While he has tried his best to deal with it, as he says, it’s always there and it continues to bother him.” She added, “He can’t erase it.”
Her son did not report the crime at the time, “largely because of embarrassment and fear,” but he did file a police report last week, handing over evidence to the Nantucket police. Unruh says a criminal investigation has begun and Garabedian said the act is within the civil and criminal statute of limitations under Massachusetts law.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with the Nantucket Police Department and a spokesperson said, “We cannot confirm nor deny any such report was filed. Reports of sexual assaults are confidential under Mass. General Law.”
Unruh says she hopes that Spacey, who is currently being investigated by the London police, goes to prison: “I want to see Kevin Spacey go to jail. I want to have the hand of justice come down on him.” She claims to know of one other male who became a “target” of Spacey’s on Nantucket, but did not share any further details.
Speaking directly to Spacey, Unruh said, “Shame on you for what you did to my son. And shame on you for using your apology to Anthony Rapp to come out as a gay man. That was an appalling attempt to deflect attention away from what you really are — a sexual predator. Your actions are criminal.”
Since Oct. 29, when Star Trek: Discovery actor Rapp alleged that Spacey made unwanted sexual advances toward him when he was 14 years old, allegations against the House of Cards star have continued to come to light. Multiple House of Cards employees spoke to CNN, accusing their star and executive producer of inappropriate behavior. Harry Dreyfuss, the son of Richard Dreyfuss, claimed the actor groped him while his father was in the room.
In the wake of the claims, now totaling more than a dozen, Netflix has severed all ties with Spacey, including dropping the Gore Vidal biopic Gore that was set to be released in 2018. The streaming giant said it is working with production company Media Rights Capital to “evaluate” the path forward for House of Cards, which stars Robin Wright. The sixth and final season of the Emmy-winning original series is currently on hiatus. The actor, who was dropped by his agent and publicist, is said to be seeking evaluation and treatment.
Ryan Parker contributed to this story.
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