Actor Cuba Gooding Jr. admits to forcibly kissing a waitress.

Image credit: Newsweek

Cuba Gooding Jr., an actor, has acknowledged forcibly kissing a woman as part of a plea deal that is anticipated to terminate his criminal case.

In 2018, the Oscar winner admitted to forcibly kissing a waitress in a bar, pleading guilty to a misdemeanour crime.

He must attend six months of counselling to avoid any subsequent arrests.

If he does, he has the option of withdrawing his plea and pleading guilty to a lesser charge of harassment. He could be sentenced to a year in prison if he does not comply.

Gooding Jr., 54, received an Oscar for his part in Jerry Maguire in 1996 and has previously appeared in films such as Boyz N the Hood and Men of Honour.

More than 20 women have accused him of groping and inappropriate touching, with three of the allegations leading to criminal proceedings.

According to his lawyer, the plea deal means all three charges will be dropped. He was accused of molesting the two women who submitted the additional complaints in 2018 and 2019.

At the end of this, his lawyer, Frank Rothman, told the AFP news agency, “If he stays out of trouble for six months, that charge [to which he pled guilty] will be removed, and he will have no criminal record at the end of this.”

“I apologise for making anyone ever feel inappropriately touched,” the actor said in court on Wednesday.

“I am a well-known figure, people come into contact with me. I never want them to feel belittled or in any way uneasy.”

One of the two other women testified in court on Wednesday, saying Gooding Jr. grabbed her breast “as if I were a piece of meat for dinner that night,” according to the Associated Press.

She said, “I’m really sorry and unclear of what I can do.”

Legal action has been filed against Gooding Jr. by a woman who claims he raped her twice in 2013, which he denies.