On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Cumberland County, Indictment No. 06-01-0038.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted November 12, 2009
Before Judges Miniman and Waugh.
Defendant Lawrence Speed appeals his conviction, following a guilty plea, for third-degree endangering the welfare of a child, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a), as well as the resulting sentence of three-years incarceration, subject to the provisions of Megan's Law, N.J.S.A. 2C:7-1 to -19.*fn1 He also appeals the denial of his motion to withdraw his plea. We reverse.
In a two count indictment returned by the Cumberland County Grand Jury on January 11, 2006, Speed was charged with second-degree aggravated sexual assault, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(c)(4), and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, contrary to N.J.S.A. 2C:14-3(b).*fn2 Both charges were based on allegations that Speed, who was then nineteen years old, had sexual intercourse with a female victim who was at least thirteen years old, younger than sixteen years old, and at least four years younger than Speed. It appears from the record that the victim made inconsistent assertions as to the voluntariness of her relationship with Speed.*fn3
Speed was offered and accepted the opportunity to plead guilty to a single count of endangering the welfare of a minor, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a), which is a third-degree crime, with a recommendation for a three-year custodial sentence. He entered his guilty plea on May 1, 2006. The plea judge accepted the plea based upon the following factual basis.
DIRECT EXAMINATION BY [Defense Counsel]:
Q: Mr. Speed, back on September 10, 2005, were you in Bridgeton?
Q: And, do you know somebody with the initials of [victim's initials]?
Q: Now, you know we can only use the initials. Okay? All right. Now, this person who is [victim's initials], at the time that you were with ...