Cuba Gooding Jr., the Oscar-winning actor who starred in the acclaimed films Boyz N the Hood, Jerry Maguire, and Snow Dogs, turned himself in to the NYPD on Thursday after being accused of groping a woman. He was booked on charges of misdemeanor forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree. According to the New York Times, the maximum penalty for the sexual abuse charge is one year in jail.
Gooding, 51, is accused of grabbing a woman’s breast at the New York City bar the Magic Hour Rooftop Lounge last weekend. Surveillance video footage from the bar obtained by TMZ appears to show Gooding and his girlfriend Claudine approaching a woman and sitting down next to her before he appears to reach over and touch her thigh, touching her breast a few seconds later. Later in the tape, the woman is seen approaching a man who works as a security guard at the bar and speaking to him. Gooding then leaves the club, with the security guard trailing behind him.
Initial news reports of the incident last Sunday prompted another woman to come forward with a second groping allegation against Gooding dating back several years, the NYPD said. It is unclear whether Gooding will face additional charges as a result of the second allegation.
Despite the existence of the security camera footage, Gooding has denied any wrongdoing, telling TMZ on Tuesday the footage would show “what really happened, and that’s the most important thing.” In an initial statement at Gooding’s arraignment, Mark Jay Heller, Gooding’s lawyer, said, “We have reviewed extensively the video of every minute he was in that facility. I can tell you that there was not a scintilla of criminal culpability.” Heller and another of Gooding’s lawyers, Patrick Knapp, did not immediately return additional requests for comment.
Following his arraignment, Gooding was released on his own recognizance and is set to appear back in court on June 26th.