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Actor Cuba Gooding Jr pleads guilty to forcibly touching a woman

Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in court, Jan. 22, 2020, in New York. Gooding Jr. pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 13, 2022 to one count of forcible touching in a protracted criminal case accusing the Oscar-winning star of violating three different women at various Manhattan night spots in 2018 and 2019. (Alec Tabak/The Daily News via AP, Pool)
Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. appears in a New York courtroom in 2020. He pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of forcible touching.

Three years after he was arrested, Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. has pleaded guilty to forcibly touching a woman. He had been accused by several women of sexually groping them in various nightclubs and restaurants in 2018 and 2019.

In pleading guilty in one case, Gooding told the New York State Supreme Court judge he "kissed the waitress on the lips" without her consent. Gooding had previously pleaded not guilty.

The plea deal says he will be sentenced to get counseling but not to do jail time, according to the Associated Press. The report says he will be able to get his conviction reduced to a lesser violation if he complies with terms of the deal.

He pleaded guilty to allegations by one woman but the court had ruled that prosecutors could call two other women to testify against him. They were among 19 accusers that prosecutors said could talk about other alleged incidents. According to the AP, "his lawyers argued that overzealous prosecutors, caught up in the fervor of the #MeToo movement, are trying to turn 'commonplace gestures' or misunderstandings into crimes."

In addition to the criminal case, Gooding has been accused in a civil lawsuit of raping a woman in New York in 2013. In July, after Gooding didn't respond to the lawsuit, a judge issued a default judgment. The actor has hired an attorney to fight that allegation, according to the AP. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.