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Man backs out of guilty plea in sex assault

February 04, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Facing four to eight years in state prison, a Fayetteville, Pa., man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a teenage girl backed out of the plea agreement Wednesday during his sentencing hearing in Franklin County Court.

Robert William Tarman, 37, of 12130 Loop Road, had his case scheduled for the May trial term by Judge Richard Walsh. He pleaded guilty in October to sexual assault with the condition that he receive the sentence of four to eight years.

"It looks like a complete recantation to the court," Walsh said of statements by Tarman in the presentence report. "All of that to me appears to add up to you backing out of this."

"Did you do it, or did you not? Walsh asked.

"Yeah," Tarman said. However, on follow-up questions, he said he confessed "because that's what people wanted me to do."

"Nobody wants to hear what actually happened. Everyone will believe a teenager over an adult," Tarman said.

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Walsh asked again if Tarman had sexual contact with the girl, who was 15 years old at the time.

"Nope," Tarman said.

The victim was present in court, but chose not to address the court when given the opportunity.

Pennsylvania State Police had charged Tarman with three counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, three counts of indecent assault with a minor, and single counts of sexual assault and corruption of a minor. The incidents occurred in December 2007 and the girl reported them to police in January.

"We will be prepared to go to trial. There are no offers on the table," Assistant District Attorney Lauren Sulcove told Walsh.

If convicted on the three involuntary deviate sexual intercourse charges, Tarman could face 30 to 60 years in prison, Sulcove said.

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