Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. settled an alleged sex abuse incident which took place in New York City a decade ago.
The civil court action resulted from an encounter the Oscar-winning “Jerry Maguire” star had with a woman he’d met in a Manhattan restaurant. Gooding reportedly persuaded her to join him in his hotel room so he could change clothing; the incident was said to have occurred shortly after the two entered the celebrity’s room.
Minutes after jurors were to begin assembling in a courtroom, a calendar entry in the official court record said: “TRIAL OFF.” It added: “Reason for cancellation (on consent): the parties have resolved the matter.”
Late last week, Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled that the woman would have to reveal her name at trial, effectively ending the anonymity she’d previously had during the proceedings. Attorney Gloria Allred, lead counsel for the plaintiff, declined to comment about the settlement; Gooding’s attorneys also declined to comment.
The lawsuit had sought $6 million in compensatory damages. Planned testimony from Kelsey Harbert, a woman who told police that Gooding had fondled her at a rooftop bar near Times Square in 2019 wasn’t entered into the record due to the surprise settlement.
Three other women accused the actor of sudden sexual assaults after meeting them at various festivals, nightclubs, restaurants and bars around New York. Authorities say that Gooding has been accused of committing sexual misconduct against more than 30 other women, including groping, unwanted kissing and other inappropriate behavior.
Harbert said that never getting to have her day in court was “more disappointing than words can say”.
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.
By staying out of trouble and completing six months of alcohol and behavioral counseling, Gooding was permitted to withdraw his guilty plea and plead guilty to a non-criminal harassment violation, eliminating his criminal record and preventing further penalties.