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Leonia Man Admits Sexually Assaulting Girl, 16, In Truck

Defense attorney Frank Lucianna, Wilfredo Arias
Defense attorney Frank Lucianna, Wilfredo Arias Photo Credit: Mary Miraglia

LEONIA, N.J. -- A local man today dropped what authorities called a blatant set of lies and admitted sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl while giving her a ride in his truck last summer.

Wilfredo Arias, 49, pleaded guilty in writing in Hackensack before Superior Court Judge James J. Guida, who rejected a plea attempt yesterday after Arias claimed the girl came on to him.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Natalie Candela insisted on the unusual move, telling Arias that she would agree to the plea only if he put it on paper.

Candela told Daily Voice that she wanted to be sure that Arias kept his part of the bargain this time.

Defense attorney Frank Lucianna said that his client “got a good deal” after talking it over last night with his wife, who kept a watchful eye in court today.

“He admitted to forcing [the girl's hand] onto his penis and putting his hand on her vagina, as well as penetrating her vagina,” Candela said. “He also admitted holding her and grinding against her body.”

Arias yesterday claimed there was a July 3, 2014 party held by his stepdaughter that the victim attended but today said the teens had actually been watching movies that night. She didn't do or say anything to provoke him in any way, he admitted.

Arias, who pleaded guilty to sexual assault and child endangerment, "could have gotten 15 years in prison if he was tried and convicted,” Lucianna told Daily Voice. “Under the plea, he’ll get six years and he’ll have to serve 85% of that. If the two counts are merged at sentence, he’ll spend only four years and two months in prison.”

The judge tentatively set sentencing for Dec. 11, provided that an evaluation is completed at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel to determine whether Arias is a compulsive sex offender who must be considered for a civil commitment.

He must pay $2,000 in fines, remain on lifetime parole and meet the requirements of Megan’s Law sex offender registration and Nicole’s Law prohibiting contact with the girl or her family.

Arias remains free on $250,000 bail pending sentencing.

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