Child's Father Confronts Sex Offender

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    NBCSanDiego

    Residents of a Lakeside neighborhood are angry they weren’t told that a registered sex offender lived among them until he was spotted talking to a boy Sunday.

    Joseph Cantorna, 55, was seen talking to the child in the middle of Cherry Road by the child’s father Marco Valenzuela.

    The child 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.

    Neighbors said Cantorna had been knocking on doors, asking for money and cigarettes.

    Some believe he's been interacting with the neighborhood children. "He's been yelling and calling my son's name in the back yard," said neighbor Tom Walko.

    Others complained that he has not been supervised.

    "This particular individual that was caught doing what he did has been wandering the neighborhood freely for the last week or so," said Kent Copperrud, another resident of Cherry Road.

    Nearby residents were furious after learning Cantorna was a registered sex offender.

    The Megan's Law website shows Cantorna's previous offense was a lewd act with a child.

    While the web site shows that Cantorna lives in Lakeside, he was not registered to the assisted living home at 8820 Golden Ridge Rd.

    Employees and residents at the home would not answer the door for comment.

    The home is advertised as a home run by the non-profit organization Expanding Horizons in La Mesa, which is registered to Steven Lefort Ph.D.

    Lefort refused to answer questions about the Expanding Horizons and the home on Golden Ridge Rd.

    There are numerous assisted living homes within walking distance Cherry Rd. and residents were very concerned that there could be more registered sex offenders living nearby without their knowledge.

    Valenzuela said he was determined to drive sex offenders away.

    "This is just not going to happen again, not in this neighborhood. We're definitely not going to wait until a tragedy happens, for a kid to get kidnapped or God forbid get killed," he said.