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Headlinesn > Entertainment > Cuba Gooding Jr. faces two sexual assault lawsuits before Adult Survivors Act expires
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Cuba Gooding Jr. faces two sexual assault lawsuits before Adult Survivors Act expires

Cuba Gooding Jr. is headed to court again.

Two women have filed lawsuits alleging the “Freedom” actor groped them in New York City in separate incidents in 2018 and 2019. The lawsuits were filed Wednesday in New York Supreme Court under the state’s Adult Survivors Act, which gives plaintiffs a temporary window to submit civil claims of sexual offenses that would otherwise not meet the statute of limitations. The Adult Survivors Act expires this week.

The legal action is only the most recent for Gooding. In June, he reached a last-minute settlement with a woman who accused him of raping her a decade ago, avoiding a trial.

In the 2018 lawsuit, obtained by The Times, a woman said that while she was working as a cocktail waitress at LAVO restaurant and nightclub in New York, Gooding forced his tongue into her mouth without her consent.

Gooding pleaded guilty to a criminal forcible touching charge related to the incident in April last year. The lawsuit filed Wednesday includes a portion of the transcript of Gooding’s testimony from that litigation in which the judge asks him to describe what he did. “I kissed the waitress on her lips,” he said, before confirming that he’d done it without her permission.

In the 2019 filing, Kelsey Harbert said that she approached Gooding at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge, hoping to meet the actor. She alleged that after she sat next to Gooding’s girlfriend, the actor reached over and felt her thigh and breast. “So, you can imagine my surprise when I saw a flash of movement, and felt his hand on my breast, groping it, feeling around on it, as if I was a piece of meat,” Harbert is quoted saying in the lawsuit.

Harbert filed a police report within a week of the incident. Gooding pleaded guilty again, and the civil lawsuit includes Gooding confirming that it was “nonconsensual physical contact,” at his hearing.

Both women are seeking unspecified damages for assault and battery; lost wages; emotional, mental and physical injury; and attorneys’ fees.

A representative for Gooding did not immediately respond to The Times’ request for comment.

Gloria Allred, who is representing the two plaintiffs, said in a statement, per Deadline, “Our clients were deprived of the justice they sought in the criminal case. They are now seeking justice and accountability in their civil cases. We are proud of their courage and intend to vigorously fight for them until they win the justice that they deserve.”

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