Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. resolved his violently touching New York City case on Thursday with a guilty plea to a lower charge and without jail time after meeting the terms of a conditional plea deal reached in April.
Prosecutor Coleen Balbert said Gooding has stayed out of trouble and completed six months of alcohol and behavior modification counseling, which allowed him to withdraw his felony plea and plead guilty to a harassment violation.
Balbert said she has received “positive reports over the past six months” from Gooding’s therapist. The actor will continue treatment after the time it takes for his plea deal, Balbert said.
Cuba Gooding, 54, will receive no additional sentences and by replacing his felony plea with a non-criminal plea, he will have no criminal record. If Gooding had not adhered to the terms of the deal, he would have faced up to a year in prison.
Gooding pleaded guilty in April to a felony charge of forcibly kissing an employee at a New York nightclub in 2018. That was just one of dozens of allegations of inappropriate behavior from the Oscar winner that have come to light in recent years.
Some of Gooding’s accusers have criticized what they considered to be a light sentence for the Jerry Maguire star, and some are pursuing civil lawsuits against him.
Gooding “saw minimal consequences” as his victims dealt with the aftermath of his actions, the nightclub employee said in a victim statement that Balbert read in the lawsuit file.
Cuba Gooding was arrested in 2019 and was among a plethora of Hollywood heavyweights accused of misconduct in the #MeToo movement.
As Gooding was in court on Thursday to wrap up his case, another Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey, was later on trial in a civil lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted actor Anthony Rapp.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, former studio boss Harvey Weinstein and That 70’s Show star Danny Masterson are in the midst of separate rape trials. Weinstein was convicted in New York in 2020 on similar charges and is serving a 23-year prison term.
Gooding’s case has taken more than three years to play out, extended by court delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cuba Gooding was arrested in June 2019 after a 29-year-old woman told police he had stroked her without her consent at the Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square. That incident was not the one in his admission of guilt.
A few months later, prosecutors accused Gooding of squeezing a server’s butt after he made a sexually suggestive comment to her in TAO Downtown and the charge he pleaded guilty to — forcibly kissing a waitress at LAVO New York downtown. from Manhattan.
Both incidents are said to have taken place in 2018.
Gooding admitted during a plea hearing in April that he “kissed the waitress on the lips” without permission and, explaining his actions during Thursday’s harassment plea, told Judge Curtis Farber: “I kissed a waitress, Your Honor.”
The waitress said in her victim statement that Gooding unexpectedly shoved his tongue into her mouth while serving drinks. She said she was aware of incidents involving Gooding and three other women at the club.
Gooding had previously pleaded not guilty to six offenses and denied all charges of wrongdoing. His lawyers argued that overzealous prosecutors, caught up in the fervor of #MeToo, tried to turn “everyday gestures” or misunderstandings into crimes.
Judge Curtis Farber had previously ruled that if the Gooding case went to trial, prosecutors could have called two additional women to testify about their allegations that Gooding had also violated them. Prosecutors say the judge later reversed that decision, leading them to seek a plea.
Along with the criminal case, Cuba Gooding is charged in a 2013 trial of rape of a woman in New York City. After a judge handed down a default judgment in July over Gooding’s failure to respond to the lawsuit, the actor hired a lawyer and is fighting the allegations.