Cuba Gooding Jr. Avoids Jail Time After Guilty Plea In Sex Abuse Case

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Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. will face no jail time after complying with the terms of his plea deal in his New York sex abuse case, per AP News.

On Thursday (October 13), Gooding Jr. resolved his years-long criminal case by pleading guilty to a single count of harassment, a much lesser charge than forcible touching, which he previously pleaded guilty to for kissing a woman against her will at a nightclub in 2018.

The actor was able to withdraw the forcible touching plea, a misdemeanor, and plead guilty to a noncriminal violation after staying out of trouble and completing six months of alcohol and behavior modification counseling as stated in his plea deal, prosecutor Coleen Balbert said. Balbert noted that she received “positive reports for the last six months” from Gooding’s therapist and that the actor would continue to be treated beyond the time required in his deal.

By replacing his forcible touching plea with a harassment violation, Gooding won't have a criminal record. The Jerry Maguire star would have faced up to one year in prison had he not complied with the terms of the deal.

Gooding was initially arrested in June 2019, when a 29-year-old woman told authorities that he fondled her without consent at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in New York.

Prosecutors ultimately charged Gooding for separate incidents in which he allegedly pinched a server’s buttocks after making a sexually suggestive remark to her at TAO Downtown and forcibly kissed a waitress at LAVO New York.

The Oscar winner plead guilty in April to forcibly touching the LAVO New York worker in 2018. During the plea hearing, he admitted that he “kissed the waitress on her lips” without consent.

Gooding had previously pleaded not guilty to six misdemeanor counts and denied all of the allegations. His lawyers initially argued that prosecutors caught up in the #MeToo movement were trying to turn “commonplace gestures” into crimes.

The case took over three years to play out, in part due to pandemic-related court delays.

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