Some speculate Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey could be imprisoned for up to three years if if he is charged over recent allegations of sexual assault.
On Aug. 29, actor Anthony Rapp accused Spacey of sexually assaulting him 31 years ago, when Rapp was 14 and Spacey was 26, Inquisitr reports.
The alleged incident took place at a party hosted by Spacey in 1986. Rapp, who was attending the party, claimed in an interview with BuzzFeed that he was watching TV alone when a drunken Spacey picked him up "like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold," climbed on top of him, and tried to "seduce" him.
Dr. Jef McAllister, an attorney specializing in child sexual abuse in both the U.S. and U.K., said Spacey could be sentenced for up to three years in state prison based on Rapp's allegations.
The relevant law is California Penal Code section 288(c), Lascivious Acts with a Child of Age 14 or 15. "He made physical contact with a child 14 or 15 years of age, and that contact was done for sexual arousal or gratification," McAllister said.
While the crime usually carries a maximum one-year sentence, Spacey could face three years under the law because he was more than 10 years older than Rapp at the time of the alleged incident.
As McAllister notes, the current law was not in effect 30 years ago, and therefore "the chances of both criminal and civil prosecution against Spacey are low."
"The obvious criminal offenses in 1986 involving contact with someone Rapp's age require at least oral sex or fondling," he said, but Rapp made no mention of "fondling genitalia" or "penetration" by Spacey.
The statute of limitations could also prohibit prosecution.
"In California, there is generally a 10 year SOL on child molestation; but an odd anomaly permits the crime to be charged within one year of when the victim first reports it to the police, which essentially neuters the SOL," noted McAllister.
But there's a possible loophole, according to McAllister, because the statute of limitations in California "permits civil charges to be filed within three years of discovering the psychological damage the abuse has done to you."
Rapp first went public about the incident in a 2001 interview with LGBT magazine The Advocate, without naming the alleged abuser.
"That might start the 'discovery' clock ticking then, in which case he would be out of time now," McAllister concluded.
On Twitter, Spacey issued a statement in response to Rapp's allegations, offering his "sincerest apology" and saying he was "sorry for the feelings [Rapp] describes having carried with him all these years."
His apology has been widely criticized on social media, and an Emmy award he won has been revoked, and his hit show on Netflix, "House of Cards," has been canceled.
Spacey is currently shooting a biographical film about the late author Gore Vidal, who, ironically, has been posthumously accused of having sexual relations with underage boys, according to the Daily Mail.
The claims were made by Vidal's half sister and nephew, who were contesting the writer's will. Vidal died in 2012 and left his entire $37 million estate to Harvard University.