Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday to forcibly kissing a woman at a New York nightclub in 2018.
His confession came nearly three years after his arrest. The case had experienced several delays, his lawyers seeking to obtain a reduced sentence or even a dismissal. Cuba Gooding Jr, 54, had actually been charged with assaulting three different women at various Manhattan nightspots in 2018 and 2019, but only pleaded guilty to one of those allegations.
The star admits to the “most serious” facts, namely forcibly kissing a woman in a nightclub in September 2018, a spokesperson for the district attorney said. This recognition would be part of an agreement with the prosecutors, who in exchange would have promised to spare him any immediate prison sentence. “He admitted to one count that he kissed a waitress without her consent,” the actor’s attorney said. “All other charges have been dismissed,” he added. “In six months, if he stays out of trouble, this charge will be dropped and he won’t have a criminal record at the end of all this,” he said in comments reported by AFP.
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the unidentified woman in a civil complaint, said requests for other alleged victims to testify in the case – on the grounds that they were the subject of similar behavior – had been rejected by the judge. She assured that her firm would continue “to litigate our civil case against Cuba Gooding Jr. in federal court in New York on behalf of our courageous client”, and that she hoped “for a just result in the context of this complaint”. .
“I apologize for not making anyone feel inappropriately touched,” the actor said upon leaving court, The New York Times reported.
A Manhattan federal judge, on the other hand, reportedly declined Gooding’s offer to dismiss a $6 million civil suit brought by a woman who said he raped her twice in 2013 at the Mercer Hotel in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.
The comedian’s name is added to the long list of personalities sentenced in favor of the #MeToo movement, in particular with the fall in 2020 of Hollywood “king” producer Harvey Weinstein, sent for 23 years in prison, or with the trial who found R&B singer R. Kelly guilty of setting up a “system” of sexual exploitation of young women, including minors.
Much less sought after since the charges against him, Cuba Gooding Jr has been rather rare in recent years. He had won the Oscar for best actor in a supporting role for his role in the romantic comedy Jerry Maguire in 1996, and had notably played twenty years later in the series The People v. OJ Simpson.