Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty to forcibly touching a woman at a New York nightclub on Wednesday (April 13).
The guilty plea comes three years after Gooding was arrested for squeezing a woman’s breast without consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square, USA Today reports. In 2019, Gooding was also charged in two other cases involving forcible touch with other women at various Manhattan nightclubs, but on Wednesday he plead guilty to only one count.
In the two other cases, one woman accused the 54-year-old actor of pinching her butt after making a sexually suggestive remark, and the other said Gooding forcibly and inappropriately touched her.
Throughout his career, more than 20 women have accused Gooding of groping and forcible kissing, according to New York Times.
Gooding said in a Manhattan court, “I apologize for ever making anybody feel inappropriately touched.” The actor also admitted that he “kissed the waitress on her lips” without consent.
The Jerry Maguire star struck a plea deal with prosecutors and won’t face jail time. If Gooding follows through with six months of counseling, he can withdraw the misdemeanor plea and plead guilty to a lesser violation of harassment.
Gooding had previously claimed he was innocent and pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts.
In the past, the actor’s lawyers argued that prosecutors caught up in the #MeToo movement were trying to turn “commonplace gestures” into criminal offenses, USA Today reports.
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