Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. was arrested Thursday on sexual abuse charges days after a woman alleged that he grabbed her breasts and squeezed them at a Manhattan nightclub, authorities said.
Hours after he voluntarily surrendered to NYPD sex crimes detectives, Gooding, 51, was led out of a police station in handcuffs on misdemeanor counts of forcible touching and sexual abuse. He was arraigned Thursday night in Manhattan Criminal Court and released without bail.
In a criminal complaint released by the Manhattan District Attorney's office, investigators said the woman said she “observed the defendant place his hand on her breast and squeeze,” and that “she did not consent to the defendant touching her breast.”
The 29-year-old woman, who has not been identified by authorities, reported she was at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar & Lounge in Times Square at 11:15 p.m. Sunday with friends when she noticed Gooding Jr. “heavily intoxicated” and offered him a cup of water, a senior NYPD official told The Daily Beast.
The two were in the middle of a conversation when the actor allegedly groped her breasts, spurring an “argument” between the two, the official said. The woman told police she left the bar and immediately called 911.
While Gooding Jr. was no longer on the scene when authorities arrived, police were able to confirm his presence at Magic Hour with bar staff and video surveillance footage, the official told The Daily Beast.
With his lawyer at his side, the Hollywood star arrived at the Special Victims Unit in Manhattan around 2 p.m. Thursday and smiled and waved to media as he stepped out of the passenger seat of a black sedan to head into the police precinct. He didn’t answer questions.
The arrest was not a complete surprise. Moments after Gooding surrendered to police, his lawyer told The Daily Beast that he expected the Jerry Maguire star to be arrested and arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of forcible touching.
Gooding’s surrender came just hours after a second woman reportedly claimed to have also been groped by him over a decade ago. The 51-year-old has denied all allegations of misconduct.
“There's a tape that shows what really happened,” Gooding Jr. told TMZ, adding that he has evidence to prove his innocence. “I believe in the system and let the process speak for itself.”
Gooding’s defense attorney, Mark J. Heller, also denied the allegation to The Daily Beast on Thursday, adding that the “almost two hours of tape” reviewed by his team and authorities prove there is no criminal behavior.
“We have reviewed the tapes, and we do not see any criminal conduct having been perpetrated on his part,” Heller said. “He respects women. I’ve known him for over 30 years, this is not something he would do.”
On Thursday, a second woman reportedly accused the star of The People v. O.J. Simpson of grabbing her butt in 2008 during a brief meeting at Butter Restaurant in Manhattan, the New York Daily News reported. New York, however, has a five-year statute of limitations on these types of sexual assaults so it was not immediately clear if the actor would be charged or questioned on these allegations.
This is not the first time Gooding Jr. faced similar charges. In 2012, the Jerry Maguire star allegedly pushed a New Orleans bartender. The female bartender at Old Absinthe House, who was not identified, told police Gooding Jr. became angry when patrons began to recognize him and ask to take pictures with him.
When the bartender asked the actor to calm down, he allegedly pushed her away so harshly it prompted another employee to call the police. The bartender eventually dropped the charges.