Man accused of molesting boys in Lakeside found mentally incompe - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man accused of molesting boys in Lakeside found mentally incompetent for trial

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A registered sex offender accused of molesting two Lakeside boys is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Friday.

Joseph William Cantorna, 56, will be housed at either Patton State Hospital or a facility in Porterville, said Deputy District Attorney Claudia Grasso. The location will be determined at a hearing March 4 before Judge Frederick Maguire.

Whatever locked mental health facility he goes to, Cantorna could stay there for the rest of his life, unless doctors determine he has regained his competency, in which case he would be sent back to San Diego County for trial, the prosecutor said.

Cantorna allegedly molested the boys, ages 7 and 9, after he wandered away from his group home in Lakeside's Cherry Road neighborhood back in September.

He is charged with four felony counts of committing a lewd act with a minor, and is the first in San Diego to be prosecuted under the provisions of the recently enacted Chelsea's Law.

Grasso said the boys were riding their bicycles when one went to get a drink. Cantorna allegedly approached the younger boy and began to touch his bicycle and then rubbed his back.

The 9-year-old saw what was happening and returned to his friend, at which time the defendant turned his attention to the older boy and began to rub his back, buttocks and private parts, Grasso alleged.

When the man asked if they would like to see his private parts, they rode away, according to the prosecutor.

Cantorna, who is also charged with two misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting children, has a lengthy criminal record, she said.

Because the prosecution alleges there were multiple victims, the combined charges carry a maximum punishment of 25 years to life in prison each. The same charges and allegations prior to Chelsea's Law would have brought a maximum of 15 years to life in prison.

The law is named for Poway High School senior Chelsea King, who was kidnapped, raped and murdered by sex offender John Albert Gardner III about 11 months ago near Rancho Bernardo Community Park.

The measure, which toughens penalties for sex crimes and heightens official monitoring of sex offenders, was signed last November by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and took effect immediately.

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