Costner finally exposed as the star accused of sex act

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For two years the identity of a Hollywood actor alleged to have deliberately exposed himself while receiving a massage during a golf tournament has remained to mystery to newspaper readers in the UK.

Now the A-list celebrity accused of performing a sex act in front of a masseuse at a Scottish hotel spa can be revealed as Kevin Costner. According to a 34-year-old employee of the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, Fife, Costner took off his towel and performed a sex act.

The incident is said to have happened while he was staying with his wife at the hotel during the Dunhill Links pro-celebrity golf tournament in October 2004. Costner, who denies the allegation, was named in connection with the incident in several newspapers around the world, but not in the UK because of a legal ruling.

The ban was lifted yesterday at the end of an unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination case brought by his alleged victim. The woman claimed that she was unfairly dismissed after she made the complaint to management about the 51-year-old star, whose best-known films include Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and The Bodyguard. He also starred in the 1996 golf film The Tin Cup.

Just before the tribunal hearing yesterday, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, settled with hotel lawyers. The tribunal chairman, Nicol Hosie, ruled that both the hotel and Costner could be identified and that there was not a strong enough case for their names to be withheld.

The woman had previously said her complaints to management were not taken seriously and the hotel failed to provide her with adequate counselling. She said she decided to take her former employers to an employment tribunal after being sacked last August.

The woman agreed undisclosed settlement terms with lawyers from the hotel. Costner, who was not represented at the hearing, is understood to be a good friend of the hotel's owners.

A lawyer acting for the Daily Mail argued that Costner's name was already in the public domain in relation to the allegations, as it had been published in papers including The Sunday Times Australia, The National Enquirer and The Himalayan Times in Nepal.

Laurence Kennedy told the tribunal in Dundee that the possibility that disclosure would be embarrassing for Costner was insufficient reason for his name to be withheld. "It is not the role of the tribunal to police the question of reputation, Mr Kennedy said.

"The newspaper wishes to be free to report the allegations as allegations, not as a matter of fact."

After deliberating for an hour, Mr Hosie said it was unlikely Costner was unaware of the allegations against him, given the coverage the story has had in the American press and on the internet. He was not prepared to delay his decision until Costner had representation. Mr Hosie said: "It is very significant that his name is widely reported in the world's press. It is already a matter which is in the public domain." He also said he was not convinced there was a pressing social need convincing enough to allow restrictions to be put in place which would prevent Costner being identified.

Costner's publicist, Paul Bloch, said: "This was never about Kevin Costner. It is a dispute between a hotel and an ex-employee."