Child Molester Declared Unfit to Stand Trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCSanDiego
    Joseph Cantorna

    A register sex offender, who allegedly molested two Lakeside boys when he wandered away from his group home, will probably spend the rest of his life in a mental institution.

    Judge Frederick Maguire declared Joseph Cantorna, 55, unfit to stand trial due to a developmental disability on Friday.

    Cantorna was arrested Sep. 12, 2010, after he allegedly exposed himself to two boys and fondled one of them. Cantorna was living in an assisted living home near the kid's neighborhood.

    Cantorna will be sent to one of two state hospitals for people with developmental disabilities.

    "He will remain there until he returns to competency or...forever," said Cantorna's attorney Tom Carnessale.

    Neighbors said they saw Cantorna wandering through the neighborhood calling out children's names and knocking on doors asking for money and cigarettes.

    One parent caught Cantorna in the act.

    Marco Valenzuela saw Cantorna talking to his child in the middle of Cherry Road. His son ran away from the man and told his father that Cantorna was about to expose himself.

    "I was walking toward [Cantorna] and he just says that, out of the blue, 'I'm sorry, I like kids. I like little kids.' I said, 'You need to get out of my street,'" said Valenzuela.

    Valenzuela followed the man to an assisted living home on Golden Ridge Road and informed the supervisor at the home.
    When Valenzuela returned home, he learned more about the incident and immediately called the San Diego County Sheriff's department.

    "I talked to my son and he actually told me that this guy rubbed his back, rubbed his bottom and rubbed a little bit in the front," Valenzuela said.

    Deputies arrested Cantorna on suspicion of molesting a child. Cantorna already has a previous conviction of a lewd act against a child.

    The newly signed Chelsea's law, enabled prosecutors to seek a greater penalty against him. Cantorna's case was one of the first sex offender cases to come to before the court since the law was signed last September.

    Cantorna would have faced 15 years to life before Chelsea's law was enacted, according to Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso. Now, Cantorna faces at least 25 years to life, if he is ever found competent enough to stand trial.