LEONIA, N.J. -- A Leonia ex-con who admitted sexually assaulting his stepdaughter's 16-year-old friend could spend the rest of his life behind bars, depending on the results of an evaluation, a judge in Hackensack said Thursday.
Although he sentenced Wilfredo Arias to seven total years for a "sexually violent act," Superior Court Judge James J. Guida said Arias could end up being civilly committed indefinitely following an evaluation at the end of the scheduled prison term.
Arias originally pleaded guilty September but said the girl came on to him.
Guida, in turn, rejected the plea.
Arias then talked it over with his wife, according to defense attorney Frank Lucianna.
The next day, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Natalie Candela had him put his admission in writing, as Arias pleaded guilty to sexual assault and child endangerment.
“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 said the victim was watching movies with his stepdaughter the night of July 3, 2014 when he offered her a ride home. She didn’t do or say anything to provoke him in any way, he said.
After offering the girl a ride home, he admitted, he assaulted her in his truck.
The case was Arias’ fourth prosecution -- the third for a sex offense in the past 15 years.
He previously avoided prison time and Megan’s Law registration when New Jersey’s highest court overturned his 2002 conviction of of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old Little Ferry girl two years earlier he Arias wasn’t allowed to participate in interviews of potential jurors.
The case set a standard for how jurors are selected.
Arias was allowed to then plead guilty to a reduced charge of lewdness in 2005.
He benefited from another downgraded plea deal four years ago — again keeping him from Megan’s Law registration — after being charged with sexually assaulting a 7-year old Cliffside Park girl.
Arias again pleaded guilty to a reduced charge — lewdness observed by a child under the age of 13 — and was sentenced to 180 days in the Bergen County Jail and three years probation.
Arias finished the jail sentence last April before being arrested in Leonia three months later, violating his probation in the process.
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