Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads guilty to forcible touching

Cuba Gooding Jr., the actor, pleaded guilty Wednesday in an agreement that will likely keep him out of jail.

Gooding also publicly apologized to two women who had accused him of similar conduct in separate encounters. He called himself a “celebrity” figure who meant no harm.

He admitted to the crime as part of a plea agreement that was reached nearly three years after “Jerry Maguire,” Oscar-winning star, was detained in a case that saw delays as his lawyers tried to reduce or dismiss the charges.

Cuba Gooding Jr.

He said, “I sincerely apologize for making anyone feel insensitively touched.” “I am a celebrity. I make contact with people. They should never feel embarrassed or slighted.

Gooding, 54 was accused of three counts of sexual assault against women in Manhattan in 2018 and 2019. He pleaded guilty to one of these allegations. The judge said that he had “kissed” the waitress at LAVO New York club without her consent.

Gooding will not be sent to jail if he continues his “alcohol- and behavior modification” counseling for at least six months. He can then withdraw his misdemeanor plea to plead guilty instead to a lesser harassment violation.

Cuba Gooding Jr., actor

After a 29-year-old woman reported that Gooding had touched her at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge, near Times Square, Gooding was taken into custody.

Kelsey Harbert was the accuser in that encounter. She was allowed to testify in court Wednesday. She recounted how Gooding grabbed her breast out of nowhere “as though I were a piece of meat for dinner that evening.”

Harbert, who is now 31 years old, told the court that she believed Gooding was getting away with it, even though his accusers are still suffering.

Cuba Gooding Jr., actor

She said, “I feel very sad” and was unable to find the strength to do anything.

Gooding was arrested a few months later. Two additional cases were filed against him after more women accused him of abuse. After making a sexually suggestive comment to TAO Downtown, Gooding was charged with grabbing a server’s bottoms and forcing the woman to touch him at LAVO. Both of these incidents occurred in 2018.

Gooding previously pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor charges and denied any allegations of wrongdoing. His lawyers argued that prosecutors who are caught up in #MeToo’s fervor, have tried to make “commonplace gestures” and misunderstandings into crimes.

Cuba Gooding Jr., actor

Judge Curtis Farber had previously ruled that prosecutors could call two additional women to testify in the Gooding case if it went to trial. Prosecutors claim that the judge has since reversed his decision, which was a factor in their decision not to go to trial.

Coleen Balbert, the prosecutor, stated that “we credit and believe all survivors in this case.” She added that Wednesday’s result “is fair and equitable given the circumstances.”

Gooding is also being accused of raping a woman in New York City last year. In July, a judge issued a default judgment because Gooding had not responded to the lawsuit. Gooding retained a lawyer and is now fighting the charges.

Gloria Allred, the attorney representing three of Gooding’s accusers, stated in a statement, that they would continue civil litigation to hold him responsible.

She stated that “justice was significantly delayed” in the case.