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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Chelsea’s Law Faces Its First Sex Offender

— Chelsea’s Law is facing its first defendant since Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill last week. Joseph Cantorna, 55, a resident of Lakeside, has been charged with the law’s one-strike offense and multiple felony accounts of lewd acts against a child under the age of 14.

According to the law’s author, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, Chelsea’s Law makes committing a violent sex crime against a child a one-strike, life-without-parole offense. The law also tightens up monitoring and increases penalties of those who have been convicted of felony sex crimes against minors.

"If this defendant is convicted, Chelsea's Law will ensure that he receives a minimum 25-year-to-life prison sentence for preying on a nine-year-old child. Lengthened terms, like this one, will keep offenders off our streets and away from our kids,” said Fletcher.

The San Diego District Attorney is charging Cantorna with four felony and two misdemeanor counts as well as the one-strike allegation. Cantorna is a registered sex offender who was previously convicted of lewd conduct in a public place.

“The news of this crime reminded each of us why we worked so hard for the swift enactment of Chelsea’s Law,” said Fletcher. “We did it to protect California’s children from dangerous people bent on doing them harm.”

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