On Wednesday, Massachusetts criminal prosecutors dropped their case against actor Kevin Spacey.
Spacey had faced a criminal charge of indecent assault and battery in connection with a reported July 2016 incident at the Club Car restaurant/bar in Nantucket. His accuser, an 18 yr. old busboy at the restaurant, had accused Spacey of groping him.
The accuser’s mother, a former TV anchor, filed the complaint more than a year after the alleged incident supposedly occurred. Spacey pled “not guilty” and faced up to five years in prison if convicted.
The alleged victim has since exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a pre-trial when questions regarding his missing cell phone and text messages deleted by his mother prior to the phone being handed over to the police and prosecutors were brought up.
Now the complaint, which made national headlines and surely may have played a part in putting Mr. Spacey’s life and career on simmer, gets dropped and disappears like it never happened.
We’re left to wonder, was there ever any truth to the accusations?
It’s not even a question as to whether or not Kevin Spacey was guilty, but more a question of is it OK to make accusations that will potentially ruin someone’s life and then later to decide, “well, never mind, let’s drop the charges and forget about it?”
Granted there have been other accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Mr. Spacey, his career went into a downward spiral in 2017 following accusations in the US including one dating as far back as 1986. Accusations cost him his acting career in “House of Cards”, and he is currently being questioned regarding alleged sexual assault offenses in the UK occurring between 1996 and 2013.
Some may say “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, meaning if there’s so many accusations, there is probably some truth to them. But in this country aren’t we supposed to be innocent until proven guilty?
Accusations. A man loses his career, his reputation ruined, his life put on hold. We seem to now live in a culture of “guilty until proven innocent”. Accusations. How many registrants end up in prison due to mere accusations?
The question becomes, where does the truth lie?
The #MeToo movement definitely amped up current and past allegations of sexual misconduct. Those famously accused make world headlines. They have the resources, the wealth and the connections to fight the accusations leveled against them, guilty or not. The rest of us mere mortals, those that end up as a brief paragraph in the local morning paper, we often don’t have the resources to fight long drawn out court battles. Too often many of us are quickly found guilty and quietly sent off to serve time.
Accusers and the accused. There’s two sides to every story and sometimes the truth lies somewhere in between, but in the meantime, real people’s lives, reputations, careers and families get torn apart.
In the case of Kevin Spacey, we may never know whether he is guilty or innocent of the assault charges. We do know that the accusations alone were enough to irreparably change this man’s life forever.
And now, after all the media hoopla, those accusations are nothing more than dust