Cuba Gooding Jr. pleads guilty to forcible touching of woman at NYC nightclub

Cuba Gooding Jr. had pleaded guilty to forcible touching in his long-running groping case.

The Jerry Maguire star, 54, was accused of violating three different women at three different Manhattan nightclubs in 2018 and 2019. On Wednesday, he made a deal with the Manhattan D.A. to plead guilty to one count of forcible touching, a misdemeanor, against one of the women. As part of the deal, he also admitted to subjecting two other women to non-consensual physical contact.

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in New York State Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S.., October 10, 2019. Alec Tabak/Pool via REUTERS
Cuba Gooding Jr., in court in 2019, avoided a trial by pleading guilty to one count of forcible touching. (Photo: Alec Tabak/Pool via REUTERS)

The Manhattan D.A. outlined the terms of the plea deal in a statement obtained by Yahoo Entertainment, saying Gooding must continue the alcohol and behavior modification treatment he began in 2019 for six more months and have no new arrests. Each survivor will also provide a victim impact statement.

If he complies with the terms of his deal, he can re-plead to a reduced violation of harassment in October. If he doesn't, he faces up to one year in jail.

"Gooding has been in counseling since September 2019," assistant district attorney Coleen Balbert told the judge Wednesday. "I had an opportunity to personally speak with his therapist about the treatment he has been receiving and will continue to receive for the next six months. To date, she has been working with him to address the behavior he engaged to ensure he doesn't re-offend. Monthly reports will be delivered directly to me, so I can be certain he is in compliance with treatment."

The Oscar winner was accused of squeezing the breast of a 30-year-old woman at the Moxy Hotel in June 2019, pinching the buttocks of a TAO Downtown server in October 2018 and forcibly touching a woman inappropriately at the LAVO New York nightclub in September 2018.

Gooding's guilty plea is to the 2018 LAVO allegation. He had previously pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts and has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

The case has been slow-moving due to COVID and other delays, including his team's efforts to dismiss or reduce the charges, with the trial date pushed back multiple times.

His legal team has claimed the charges against him came from overzealous prosecutors — under former Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who retired last year — caught in the hype of the #MeToo era.

Prosecutors asked to put 19 witnesses on the stand to testify at trial that the actor has exhibited similar predatory behavior for years. The judge agreed to allow two others to testify, including one woman who claims Gooding grabbed her buttocks and licked her neck at an NYC hotel bar in 2013. The other woman claims he groped and forcibly kissed her at a California bar in 2018.

Separate from this, Gooding is embroiled in a lawsuit accusing him of raping a woman twice in a New York hotel room in 2013. In December, he asked the court to dismiss that case.