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Cuba Gooding Jr. avoids jail time after complying with plea deal in forcible touching case | CNN

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Cuba Gooding Jr. will not face any jail time after complying with the terms of a plea agreement in a forcible touching case, according to Emily Tuttle, spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Gooding previously pleaded guilty in April to a misdemeanor charge of forcibly touching a woman at a New York City nightclub in 2018. Gooding admitted to kissing the woman, a waitress at the club, on her lips without consent. He also admitted to two other incidents of non-consensual contact in October 2018 and June 2019.

Under the terms of the plea agreement, Gooding was required to continue alcohol and behavior modification treatment for six months and have no new arrests. On Thursday, Gooding pleaded guilty to a lesser harassment violation that will always remain on his record, but no criminal charges will remain. He was sentenced to time served and will not serve any jail sentence, Tuttle confirmed.

CNN has reached out to Gooding’s attorney, Peter Toumbekis, for comment.

When the plea agreement was announced in April, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert said their office believed the agreement was “fair and equitable.”

“I would just like to say that we fully credit and believe all of the survivors in this case and thank all of the women and other witnesses who cooperated with our office during the pendency of our investigation,” Balbert said at the time. She also noted that Gooding had been in counseling since September 2019, and said that the plea agreement would spare accusers from having to testify publicly and would allow them to make victim impact statements if they chose to.

One of Gooding’s accusers, Kelsey Harbert, spoke outside court after Thursday’s hearing, telling reporters that the actor’s actions “tug at [her] sense of peace every single day.”

“At what point are we going to take this seriously? When will we decide that this is dangerous behavior? And when is it the court’s responsibility to protect the public from someone like him?” Harbert asked. “The system is supposed to be about what he did. Not who he is.”

Gloria Allred, Harbert’s attorney, said she will discuss with Harbert whether to pursue a civil lawsuit against Gooding, but said no decision will be made Thursday.

CNN’s Tanika Gray contributed to this report.



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