Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of forcible touching in a criminal case that accused him of violating three different women at Manhattan nightclubs in 2018 and 2019, according to the Associated Press.
As part of his plea deal, Gooding avoids jail time and must continue his alcohol and behavior counseling, which he began in 2019, for six more months without any arrests. If he complies, then the conviction will be reduced to a violation, which is not a crime.
Gooding was arrested in June 2019 after an incident at a Manhattan club, after which he was released and the trial was delayed several times. A 29-year-old woman told police that Gooding squeezed her breast without her consent at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square. After that incident, two more women came forward with accusations of inappropriate touching. One woman, who was a server at TAO Downtown, alleged that Gooding pinched her buttocks at the nightclub in 2018. Another woman claimed that Gooding forcibly touched her inappropriately at the LAVO New York nightclub in 2018.
On Wednesday, he admitted to subjecting the two women to non-consensual physical contact. As part of the plea deal, each survivor may provide a victim impact statement.
Gooding pleaded guilty to the LAVO nightclub allegation. He previously pleaded not guilty to six other misdemeanor charges and had denied all other charges. His lawyers had argued that the allegations were trying to turn “commonplace” or misunderstood gestures into crimes.
The judge ruled that if the case were to go to trial, prosecutors could have called forward two women, whose allegations didn’t result in charges, as witnesses. In total, more than 20 woman have come forward to accuse Gooding of groping or forcibly kissing them in incidents dating back two decades, according to The New York Times.
In August 2020, Gooding was also accused in a lawsuit of raping a woman in 2013. he has denied the charges.
In 1997, Gooding won the Oscar for supporting actor after co-starring in “Jerry Maguire” opposite Tom Cruise. He’s also starred in “Boyz n the Hood,” “Men of Honor,” “Pearl Harbor” and many more films. In 2016, he played OJ Simpson in “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story,” for which he earned an Emmy nomination for lead actor in a limited series.