Charges re-filed against accused internet sex predator

Charges re-filed against accused internet sex predator

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SALT LAKE CITY -- After federal prosecutors agreed to dismiss the case because of medical issues, state prosecutors have now charged a retired Air Force major busted in an internet sex sting.

The Utah Attorney General's Office charged Reinaldo L. Canton, 45, with three class A misdemeanor counts of enticing a minor. The charges were filed Tuesday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court.

Canton was originally charged in federal court in Salt Lake City back in 2007, but the case was dropped earlier this year because of issues surrounding his health. In court papers, Canton's attorney argued that he suffered from a life-threatening heart condition and the stress and strain of any criminal prosecution would put his life at risk.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah agreed to dismiss the case - with prejudice - meaning that they could re-file the charges at any time.

Assistant Utah Attorney General Paul Amann said Canton's medical condition was never contested and the burden should be on him to prove he is too ill to proceed.

"There was just a unilateral offering of information from the defendant," Amann told KSL NewsRadio on Wednesday. "It's an issue that needs to be examined and we believe we have sufficient grounds to proceed."

Apparently, the Utah Attorney General's Office did not feel his health was a significant enough factor by leveling the charges. A judge also issued a warrant for Canton's arrest on Tuesday.

The charging documents claim that Canton arranged a sexual liaison over the internet with someone that he thought was a 15-year-old girl. It was really an undercover police officer.

When he showed up to the Layton Hills Mall, he was arrested.

"He gave spontaneous statements, indicating he was at the mall to have dinner with his wife and was happily married," officers wrote in a probable cause statement filed with the charges. "Canton also stated he was interested in seeing how safe programs work on the internet to keep children safe since the internet was a scary and dangerous place; and he stated he was not at the mall to meet a 15-year-old girl."

A court appearance has not yet been scheduled for Canton.

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Ben Winslow


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