LONDON — Kevin Spacey, the Oscar- and Tony Award-winning actor, appeared on Thursday in a London court facing charges of sexual assault.
Nearly five years after accusations began to emerge against him, Mr. Spacey, 62, is facing four charges of sexual assault in Britain, as well as one of causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without their consent.
Thursday’s court appearance, in which Mr. Spacey confirmed his name and address (he is appearing as Kevin Spacey Fowler) and was read the charges he is facing, was the first, mainly procedural stage in what will most likely be a lengthy criminal proceeding.
The case will now be sent to a crown court, the type that deals with more serious cases, but an actual trial will probably not occur for some time because of a severe backlog in Britain’s judicial system.
The offenses with which Mr. Spacey is charged, which involve three men, are said to have occurred between March 2005 and April 2013 — a time when Mr. Spacey was the artistic director of the Old Vic theater in London.
Mr. Spacey has denied all of the accusations. Last month, he told ABC News’s “Good Morning America” in a statement that he was confident a trial would “prove my innocence.”
Since the #MeToo movement gained widespread traction in 2017, Mr. Spacey, who won Academy Awards for his performances in “The Usual Suspects” and “American Beauty,” has been one of the highest-profile celebrities accused of sexual assault.
But his appearance in London is, along with the court appearances of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, one of the few cases to reach a court.
Celebrity spotters are often seen outside high-profile court cases, hoping to get a glimpse of troubled stars, but on Thursday, the scrum of onlookers appeared to be entirely journalists and photographers.