Actor, Cuba Gooding Jr faces new s3xual assault lawsuits

Hollywood actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was sued on Wednesday, November 22, by two women whose sexual assault cases against him led to a criminal prosecution. Despite pleading guilty, he did not serve any jail time.

In a lawsuit filed in a Manhattan state court, Jasmine Abbay stated that the Oscar-winning actor forcibly kissed her without her consent in September 2018. This incident allegedly occurred while she was working as a cocktail waitress at the LAVO nightclub in midtown Manhattan.

The other plaintiff, Kelsey Harbert, accused Gooding of groping her breast in June 2019 at the Magic Hour rooftop bar, also in midtown.

“Our clients were deprived of the justice they sought in the criminal case,” Gloria Allred, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. “They are now seeking justice and accountability in their civil cases.”

Abbay and Harbert are seeking unspecified damages for assault and battery under the Adult Survivors Act, a special New York state law letting women sue their alleged abusers even if statutes of limitations have run out.

The law expires after the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Other individuals sued under the law include actors Russell Brand and Bill Cosby, former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, former president Donald Trump, and hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, whose case settled after one day.

Gooding, who won an Academy Award in 1997 for Best Supporting Actor in “Jerry Maguire,” pleaded guilty in April 2022 to a misdemeanour charge of forcibly touching Abbay. She was not identified by name at the time but revealed her identity in her lawsuit.

Six months later, the charge was downgraded to harassment. Gooding pleaded guilty after adhering to a plea agreement that involved alcohol and behaviour modification treatment, along with no further arrests.

Accusations by Abbay, Harbert, and a third woman formed the foundation of a six-count indictment against Gooding, which he resolved with his guilty plea.

At the time, Harbert expressed her outrage, stating she could not hold him accountable in court for the “irreparable damage” he caused.

In June, Gooding settled a civil lawsuit in Manhattan federal court just before the trial began. The lawsuit was brought by a woman who accused him of a 2013 rape, and the terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The woman had sought $6 million.

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