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Bergenfield ex-con who protested innocence admits sexually assaulting girl, 15

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

ONLY ON CVP: A Bergenfield ex-con from Trinidad who has protested his innocence from the start pleaded guilty in Hackensack yesterday to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.

In exchange for his plea, 36-year-old Arthur W. Gilliam will get credit for the time he’s spent behind bars since April 2013 and will likely be released less than a year from now.

Rather than go through deportation proceedings, Gilliam said he wants to return to Trinidad once he’s out, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Kristin DeMarco said.

Whether he’d be able to voluntarily do so was an open question. Meanwhile, he remains held on $150,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Gilliam has an extensive criminal record that stretches back 15 years. It includes convictions for assault (twice), arson, weapons possession and burglary.

“I would never plead guilty to nothin’ I didn’t do,” he told a judge in Hackensack in July, indicating that he was prepared to go to trial on the sex assault charge.

Gilliam’s attorney, Ron Bar-Nadav, said the complaining witness, now 18, recanted her story once and then gave new information incriminating his client.

Both sides have since worked out a deal that carries a six-year prison term that should allow the 6-foot-1, 330-pound Gilliam an opportunity for parole soon after a tentatively scheduled February sentencing when time served is factored in.

Gilliam will remain under Megan’s Law requirements and parole supervision for life and can never have contact with the victim’s family again.

He also will be evaluated at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel — to determine whether he is a risk to reoffend — and must submit a DNA sample to a national crime registry.

“You are pleading guilty to second degree sexual assault — in legal language: penile-vaginal penetration,” Superior Court Judge John A. Conte told Gilliam yesterday.

Four other counts were being dismissed as part of the plea agreement. They include unlawful restraint of the victim, sexual contact for touching her buttocks, sexual conduct that impaired the morals of a child under 16 and causing harm that constitutes child abuse.

STORY / FILE PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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