Doctor Who Owns Group Home Responds To Offender's Arrest
Dr. Steven LeFort Owns Group Home In Lakeside Where Sex Offender Was Arrested
Last Updated: 974 days ago
The clinical psychologist who owns the Lakeside group home where registered sex offender Joseph Cantorna was arrested is speaking out to defend himself.Dr. Steven LeFort agreed to talk to 10News only if his face was not shown. He said he fears for his safety."I just didn't see any of this coming at all," said LeFort. "I feel like my reputation has been tarnished by what has happened in the press which is why I decided to speak out."One of his developmentally disabled clients, registered sex offender Joseph Cantorna was arrested and accused of fondling two young boys in a Lakeside neighborhood on Sunday, Sept. 12.LeFort said he has been receiving death threats on his answering machine at his home in University Heights and the one at his office in La Mesa."It's been one of the worst weeks I've ever had. I feel very bad about what happened, and it is an unlocked facility," he said. "Joe has been a client with us since 1995. I am very active in all of my facilities. I visit the facilities on a regular basis."When asked if he had any reason to believe his client posed a threat to the children in the Lakeside neighborhood, Dr. LeFort, who clinically assesses Joseph Cantorna regularly, said, "His offense occurred in 1978. The sheriff told me it was a misdemeanor and that they have three tiers of people that are listed on the Megan's Law website," said LeFort. "The reason his address wasn't listed on Megan's Law [was because he] was not considered a predator and due to the fact his crime occurred over 30 years ago. It's impossible in our current society to keep people locked up for the rest of their lives."10News also asked LeFort if what Cantorna is accused of doing could have been prevented."If I would have seen red flags [or] warning signs, I would have taken immediate action," said LeFort. "I did not, nor did any of my staff, see any red flags, warning signs [or] any unusual behavior from him. He's somebody we know quite well and I really don't know what else we could've done to prevent this, short of being a locked facility."As far as changes made to ensure this does not happen again, LeFort said his facility is tightening client supervision."If a client is going to sign themselves out on independent outings they have to indicate destination," said Lefort. "I can sincerely say that I am very sorry for what has happened to that family and I apologize if my agency was the cause of that, but I feel very badly for them."Even though LeFort said Cantorna's conviction dates back to 1978, Cantorna has a long list of sex offenses dating back to 1973. In 2009, Cantorna was charged with sexual battery. Cantorna is listed by zip code publicly because his crimes ended up as misdemeanors and were considered nonviolent.