Cuba Gooding Jr. Faces Federal Lawsuit That Accuses Him of Rape

The actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who had been accused by a score of women of groping or forcibly kissing them, pleaded guilty last year to a single charge of kissing a woman without her consent.

On Tuesday, he will face trial in a civil lawsuit that accuses him of rape, and it is expected to include testimony from three women who will say that he abused them between 2009 and 2019.

The case, filed in 2020 in Federal District Court in Manhattan on behalf of a woman identified only as Jane Doe, leveled the most serious accusations to date against Mr. Gooding. It was one of a constellation of civil and criminal cases brought against prominent men amid the #MeToo movement, a broad reconsideration of sex and power in America and beyond.

Many of the allegations involved figures in the entertainment world. Mr. Gooding, a Bronx native, had played the lead role in the 1991 film “Boyz N the Hood” and had won an Academy Award in 1997 for a supporting role in “Jerry Maguire.”

Jury selection in the Jane Doe trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday. Her suit, which seeks unspecified damages, described events that were said to have taken place in the summer of 2013 when the plaintiff said Mr. Gooding introduced himself to her at a restaurant and lounge in Greenwich Village and later invited her to join him for drinks at the Mercer, a hotel in Soho.

There, the lawsuit said, Mr. Gooding told the woman that he needed to quickly change clothes, ushered her into his room on the fifth floor of the hotel and began to undress. When the woman tried to leave, the lawsuit said, Mr. Gooding blocked her and pushed her onto a bed and touched her sexually over her repeated objections, finally penetrating her as she tried to get off the bed.

A lawyer who was representing Mr. Gooding at the time that the lawsuit was filed called its allegations “completely false and defamatory.”

The judge overseeing the case, Paul A. Crotty, granted a request by Jane Doe’s lawyers, including Gloria Allred, the longtime women’s rights advocate, to hear testimony fromother women who had accused Mr. Gooding of touching them without permission.

Among the women who are expected to testify is Kelsey Harbert, who has said that Mr. Gooding had groped her breast in 2019 while she was in an expensive lounge inside the Moxy NYC Times Square Hotel in Manhattan.

Mr. Gooding faced criminal charges stemming from her account and those of two other women describing similar conduct. As investigators examined those accusations, more than 20 women accused Mr. Gooding of groping or forcibly kissing them in encounters that dated back more than two decades.

Last year, Mr. Gooding pleaded guilty to a single count of forcible touching, which charged that he had kissed a woman at a Manhattan nightclub in 2018 without her consent.

Mr. Gooding was allowed last fall to withdraw his initial plea and instead plead guilty to a lesser charge of harassment after continuing alcohol and behavior modification treatment that he had begun in 2019 and avoiding any further arrests.

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