Cuba Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty on Wednesday (April 13) to a misdemeanor charge of forcible touch.
According to the Associated Press, the actor was accused of violating three different women at various Manhattan venues in 2018 and 2019. His guilty plea accounts for one accusation, admitting to the judge he “kissed the waitress on her lips” without consent.
“I apologize for making anybody ever feel inappropriately touched,” he said. “I am a celebrity figure. I come into contact with people. I never want them to feel slighted or uncomfortable in any way.”
With the deal, the 54-year-old avoids jail time on the agreement that he continues “alcohol and behavior modification” counseling for six months. After the treatment concludes, Gooding Jr. has the opportunity to withdraw the misdemeanor plea and instead plead guilty to a lesser violation of harassment.
Kelsey Harbert, who made other claims against the Red Tails actor was allowed to speak in court although the charges were not related to her accusation. Following her claims, Gooding Jr. was arrested in 2019 at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge near Times Square.
“I feel very sad and feel very lost for what I can do,” she expressed. According to the filed report, Harbert described Gooding Jr. grabbing her “as if I was a piece of meat for dinner that night.”
Gooding previously pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanor counts of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse. Accusations against the actor’s behavior added up to 12 allegations from 12 different women dating back to 2001.
“We credit and believe all the survivors in this case,” said prosecutor Coleen Balbert. But under the circumstances, she added that Wednesday’s outcome “is a fair and equitable disposition.”