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Man gets 90 days in jail for child-skirt photo

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Cantu

The Blade/Lori King
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A Port Clinton man who tried to take a photo under the skirt of a 12-year-old girl at the Woodville Mall was given the maximum possible sentence yesterday of 90 days in jail for two misdemeanor voyeurism-related convictions.

Richard R. Cantu, 51, also was fined $750 by Perrysburg Municipal Judge S. Dwight Osterud.

Cantu also was declared a habitual sex offender and will be required to register with the state for 20 years. He already was listed as a sexually oriented offender, which required him to register for 10 years.

"If I could sentence him any longer, I would have," Judge Osterud said.

Cantu pleaded no contest and was found guilty of photographing or recording a person through or underneath clothing, a second-degree misdemeanor, and voyeurism with the intent of sexual gratification, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Cantu was accused of using his cell-phone camera to take the photo at The Andersons on March 26.

He originally was charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, a second-degree felony.

Police could not retrieve the phone or Cantu's computer, and no one saw a photo on the phone's screen, city Prosecutor P. Martin Aubry said.

"I wish we could have done more," the prosecutor said.

The girl's mother, Heidi Morris, 31, of Toledo, was shopping with her three daughters when the incident occurred. She told police she saw a camera flash. She tried to grab the phone and chased Cantu through the mall.

Mr. Aubry said that by the time police searched Cantu's residence, the phone and computer were gone.

"The case would have been far better had the authorities on site responded quickly enough," he said.

Records showed that the computer had been used on the Internet eight to 10 hours before police showed up, he said.

Cantu has been convicted of a number of sex crimes and has been in several treatment programs.

"He's got an addiction," Mr. Aubry said.

Cantu served 15 days in the Seneca County jail in 1995 after he was convicted of menacing by stalking, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison for gross sexual imposition, a felony, later that year.

In 1999, he was charged with two counts of sexual imposition, a misdemeanor, and served just over 60 days in jail, Bowling Green Municipal Court records show.

Cantu was charged again later that year with menacing by stalking. He was convicted of a misdemeanor in Tiffin Municipal Court, and sentenced to six months in jail.

Mr. Aubry said the Woodville Mall incident is the first time he knows of that Cantu tried to use any kind of camera.

Cantu was scheduled for a bench trial on May 4, but his public defender, J. Scott Hicks, filed a motion on Wednesday to move it up.

Mr. Hicks did not return phone calls yesterday.

Blade staff writer Mark Reiter contributed to this report.

Contact Elizabeth A. Shack at:

eshack@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.

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