Appeal of retired Air Force major convicted in sex offense denied

Published: Friday, July 26 2013 4:50 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of a retired Air Force major charged with enticing a minor over the Internet, thereby upholding the state court's conviction.

Reinaldo Canton, 50, was convicted in 2011 of enticing a minor over the Internet, a class A misdemeanor, in exchange for two other counts being dismissed. But Canton appealed his conviction, claiming the statute of limitations for the state to file charges had run out.

Canton, who lived in New Mexico at the time, was arrested in 2007 when investigators say he traveled to Utah to meet what he thought was a 15-year-old girl at the Layton Hills Mall to have sex. The "girl," however, was actually an adult agent with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Canton was indicted in federal court, but allowed to return home to New Mexico to await trial. After his arrest, he moved from New Mexico to Florida, according to court records.

While he was awaiting trial, Canton said he suffered acute aortic dissection and his life would be put at risk if he traveled to Utah, according to court records. The federal case against him was eventually dropped.

In 2009, three misdemeanor charges were filed against Canton in 3rd District Court. In 2010, the Utah Attorney General's Office uncovered photos of a trip Canton took from Florida to Colorado to go snowmobiling. A warrant was issued and the state court case proceeded with the case in 2011, leading to a conviction in June of that year.

But in his appeal, Canton noted that the statute of limitations for a misdemeanor crime in Utah is two years, with an exception for negligent homicide. He claimed the state was not allowed to file charges because the statute of limitations had expired.

The state, however, argued that a significant exception to the rule is when the defendant is not in the state. While Canton was out of the state, the clock stopped ticking, prosecutors argued.

In June, the state filed a warrant against Canton for allegedly violating his probation. But a decision was made to let him continue his compact probation status in Florida rather than extraditing him back to Utah.

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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