Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Criminal Case Takes A Surprising Turn

Cuba Gooding Jr. built an exceptional career for himself, delivering stunning performances in major Hollywood productions that earned him an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award — both for "Jerry Maguire." But Gooding's reputation took a major turn in 2019 when he was booked in New York on accusations of groping a woman, who said he touched her breast without her consent, ABC News reported that June. The instance proved to be just the beginning of Gooding's legal troubles. Just four months later, the "Boyz n the Hood" star was accused of a similar charge by another woman, per The Daily Beast

The sexual misconduct allegations against Gooding soon began to pile on. By August 2020, at least 30 women had come forward with similar stories, according to CNN. Gooding was facing jail time for forcible touching and sex abuse, elevating the number of counts to six on three separate incidents that reportedly took place between 2018 and 2019 in different New York restaurants and clubs.

Appearing before a judge in August 2020 after a series of dates had to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Gooding pleaded not guilty to all counts. He had consistently denied all allegations against him. "Nothing in the video could even be considered ambiguous, and I frankly am shocked and horrified that this case is being prosecuted," his lawyer, Mark Heller, told 9News after his 2019 arrest. However, Gooding has changed his stance in his most recent court appearance. 

Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to forcible touching

Cuba Gooding Jr. will plead guilty to one count of forcible touching stemming from an accusation brought by a server whom he "kissed ... on her lips" without consent at a New York nightclub in 2018, AP reported on April 13. After the district attorney's office asked the court to allow 19 women to testify against Gooding at his criminal trial, the judge ruled two of them can, according to The New York Times.

The women's testimony will allow the prosecution to argue whether Gooding displayed a pattern of inappropriate conduct or not. In documents filed in 2019, the DA argued "[Gooding's] prior acts demonstrate that his contacts with their intimate parts are intentional, not accidental, and that he is not mistaken about their lack of consent." In exchange for his guilty plea, the DA's office agreed Gooding would avoid jail time, according to AP. The agreement also allows Gooding to plea to a lesser harassment charge if he remains in counseling for six months, which would reduce the criminal nature of the charge as well. 

In addition to the criminal charges, Gooding was also accused of rape in a civil lawsuit filed in August 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the documents, a woman alleged Gooding forced her to have sex with him twice at a Greenwich Village VIP lounge in 2013. Once again, Gooding denied the allegations, with his lawyer accusing the woman of seeking attention and publicity.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).