Former University of Pennsylvania professor Tracy McIntosh said today that he would proceed with resentencing on his 2004 no-contest plea to sexually assaulting a graduate student.

McIntosh and defense attorney Joel P. Trigiani announced the decision not to contest his original plea during a brief hearing this morning before Common Pleas Judge Pamela Pryor Dembe.

Dembe set sentencing for Dec. 21.

Dembe became the new sentencing judge Feb. 7 when the original judge, Rayford A. Means, disqualified himself rather than go through the appeals-court ordered resentencing.

Means said his controversial 11-1/2- to 23-month sentence of house arrest for McIntosh, 54, of Media, an internationally known researcher into treating brain injuries, had made him the issue rather than justice for McIntosh or his victim.

At the last hearing before Dembe on Sept. 14, Trigiani asked her to reinstate Means' original sentence, arguing that the guarantee of no prison time was a condition of the plea bargain reached by McIntosh's then defense attorneys, then-prosecutor Gina Maisto Smith and Judge Means.

Dembe refused to reinstate the original sentence - nullified by the state Superior Court as too lenient - and gave McIntosh until today's hearing to decide whether to be resentenced or petition to withdraw his no-contest plea.

For McIntosh, the choice was between resentencing, with the likelihood he will get some time in prison; or trial, a protracted, embarrassing process that could result in conviction on rape and other serious charges that carry an even longer prison term.

McIntosh's original sentence had been overturned on appeal by District Attorney Lynne Abraham, whose office vehemently denied that Smith agreed to any kind of deal in exchange for McIntosh's no-contest plea.

Trigiani has argued - unsuccessfully to date - that he should be allowed to call as witnesses Means and McIntosh's former defense attorneys, Thomas A. Bergstrom and Arthur T. Donato Jr. to get to the truth of the purported plea bargain.

In remarks on Sept. 7 after he disqualified himself from the case, Means seemed to allude to such a deal saying, "In my heart of hearts, I know what both sides bargained for."

McIntosh had been charged with rape and related charges in the Sept. 6, 2002 incident in his office on the Penn campus involving an income Penn grad student who was the niece of his friend and former college roommate.

McIntosh's friend had asked him to show his niece around the Penn campus. The tour turned into an evening of heavy drinking that ended with the young woman becoming ill. McIntosh took her back to his Penn office, they smoked marijuana and then had sex with her while she was barely conscious.

In December 2004, with jury selection underway, McIntosh pleaded no-contest to charges of sexual assault possession of marijuana.

In March 2005, Means sentenced McIntosh to 11-1/2 to 23 months of house arrest, eight years probation and $40,000 in fines and restitution to the victim.

Contact staff writer Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985 or jslobodzian@phillynews.com.