• The Star Staff

Cuba Gooding Jr. accused of rape in civil suit as he awaits groping trial

By JULIA JACOBS


Cuba Gooding Jr. has been accused of raping a woman twice after coaxing her into his room at a New York hotel in 2013, in a lawsuit filed against the actor on Tuesday.


The new allegations go significantly farther than a series of claims that Gooding subjected women to unwanted sexual touching, three of which are the basis of an upcoming criminal trial. Of the more than 20 accusations discussed in court papers, none of them had alleged rape until now.


According to the lawsuit, which was filed by an anonymous woman who is referred to as Jane Doe, she first met Gooding at a restaurant in Greenwich Village. He invited her and a friend to have drinks at the Mercer Hotel in SoHo. There, Gooding ushered the woman up to his room on the fifth floor, where he said he quickly needed to change his clothes, the lawsuit said.


When the woman tried to leave the room, the lawsuit said, Gooding blocked her way out and eventually pushed her onto the bed and raped her. Afterward, as the woman was trying to get away, Gooding raped her again, according to the complaint.


She told Gooding “no” many times, the lawsuit said, but he did not stop. One of the lawyers representing the woman is Gloria Allred, the longtime women’s rights lawyer.


Gooding’s lawyer, Mark J. Heller, said that the allegations in the lawsuit are “completely false and defamatory,” pointing out that they had never resulted in criminal charges over the past seven years.


Allred declined to comment on whether the district attorney’s office or the New York Police Department has been informed of her client’s allegations or has been investigating them. A spokeswoman for the Police Department also declined to comment.


The lawsuit claims that Gooding violated a city law aimed at protecting victims who are targeted because of their gender and caused the plaintiff both physical and emotional injury.


Groping allegations against Gooding first became public last year when a woman told the police that Gooding squeezed her breast at Magic Hour Rooftop Bar at the Moxy NYC Times Square hotel on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. After that, two other women came forward with claims that resulted in criminal charges, and Gooding now faces three sets of groping charges.


The Manhattan district attorney’s office had publicly documented the claims of an additional 19 women with accusations of unwanted sexual touching against Gooding, requesting that the jury be allowed to hear testimony from these women to demonstrate a pattern of behavior. A judge ordered that two of the women would be allowed to provide such testimony.


In a court hearing last week, an assistant district attorney, Jenna Long, said that the total number of women who had come forward with accusations against Gooding had risen to 30.

His trial was supposed to begin in April, but the coronavirus pandemic stalled the proceedings.


Last year, Gooding was sued by one of the women that he is charged with groping, Natasha Ashworth. She has accused Gooding of pinching her buttocks while she was serving him at a Manhattan nightclub.

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