Women in Cuba Gooding Jr. abuse case can testify at trial, judge rules
NEW YORK (AP):
Three women who claim Cuba Gooding Jr. sexually abused them can testify at a federal civil trial this week to support a woman’s claim that the actor raped her in 2013, a judge ruled last Friday.
Judge Paul A. Crotty said the allegations by the women were relevant for a jury deciding if the Oscar-winning Jerry Maguire star raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room after they met at a bar. He also ruled in a separate order that the plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit seeking $6 million in damages, must reveal her name at trial.
He said the claims by the three women who can testify “are sufficiently similar” to the claims at stake in the trial because “all involve sudden sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults” connected to Gooding and stemmed from the presence of the women and Gooding in social settings such as festivals, bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Lawyers for Gooding have said that he had consensual sex with the woman who accused him of rape after they met in the VIP lounge of a Greenwich Village restaurant and she joined him at a nearby hotel bar, agreeing to proceed to his hotel room so the actor could change his clothing. The lawyers did not respond to an email request for comment Friday.
Gooding, a star in films including Boyz n the Hood and Radio, was permitted to plead guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanor, admitting that he forcibly kissed a worker at a New York nightclub in 2018.
After staying out of trouble and completing six months of alcohol and behavioural counselling, Gooding was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea and instead pleaded guilty to a non-criminal harassment violation, eliminating his criminal record and preventing further penalties.
The deal was criticised by some of at least 30 women who prosecutors say have made sexual misconduct allegations against him, many citing encounters at New York City nightspots that resulted in groping, unwanted kissing and other inappropriate behaviour.