N.J. man sentenced for sex assault after trying to withdraw plea

A Vineland man was sentenced Friday to eight years in state prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting a girl under the age of 13 at his former home in Franklin Township.

Pasquale Tumbarello, 42, asked to withdraw the plea at his most recent court appearance, according to a news release from the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office. 

The defendant complained about his lawyer and claimed he was under the influence of medication when he initially pleaded guilty in August 2013. “I feel like I’ve been set up into this,” Tumbarello said.

But Superior Court Judge M. Christine Allen-Jackson said she reviewed a recording of Tumbarello’s plea proceedings. She noted that she’d questioned Tumbarello “in great detail” about whether he was influenced by drugs, a claim the defendant denied at the time. 

“You told me in your own words what happened,” Allen-Jackson said. “It was a valid plea.”

Allen-Jackson ordered Tumbarello to serve 85 percent of his prison term before he will be eligible for parole. When he’s released, Tumbarello will be subject to the registration and reporting requirements of the state’s Megan’s Law.

Tumbarello was also fined $2,800, which will be paid into funds supporting sex crimes compensation and sexual assault nurse examiner programs.

Contact Alex Wigglesworth at 215-854-2305 or awigglesworth@philly.com. Follow @phila_lex on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443; BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.