East County News Service
Updated March 21 with additional details.
March 20, 2023 (El Cajon) – Two registered sex offenders have been arrested after admitting to sexual acts with underage girls at the Motel 6 in El Cajon, where one of the offenders had been placed by an organization that assists homeless people.
El Cajon Police Department has identified one victim, a 16-year-old girl. ECPD is asking for public help to identify multiple young girls whom the men have reportedly admitted to sexually assaulting during the past week at the same motel.
These crimes validate concerns repeatedly raised by the city of El Cajon over County placement of homeless individuals in motels without vetting for criminal backgrounds, as ECM has reported.
Police were tipped off by an employee of People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), who called El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) to report suspicious circumstances involving a client, says Lt. Jeremiah Larson. PATH has contracts with the County of San Diego, City of San Diego, and other agencies to provide homeless outreach.
The client, Lawrence “Larry” Cantrell, 34, is a convicted felon and sex registrant wearing a GPS-monitored ankle bracelet issued by San Diego County Probation. PATH had been paying for Cantrell’s room at the Motel 6 for several days, after he had been kicked out of a motel in San Diego for causing a disturbance, Lt. Larson says.
“Cantrell told the PATH employee he and a friend had sexual contact with a minor while staying at the motel, and he had a recording of the incident on his cell phone,” Lt. Larson states in a media release.
ECPD offers went to the motel and spoke with Cantrell who “admitted to having sexual contact with a girl he believed to be a minor. Cantrell told officers that his friend, 70-year-old Michael Inman, a sex registrant he met through PATH while staying at the Days Inn hotel on Ash St. in San Diego, brought a young girl that Cantrell believed to be a minor, to his room,” Larson continues. Cantrell told officers that the young girl claimed to be an adult, but that Cantrell asked her about her age multiple times because he believed her to be a juvenile.
The press release continues:
“After a short conversation, Cantrell sexually assaulted and molested the minor. Afterward, Cantrell and Inman engaged in sexual activity with each other. Cantrell learned that Inman had an explicit video of the minor from inside the motel room on his cell phone, so Cantrell sent the video from Inman’s phone to his own cell phone. Cantrell turned his cell phone over to officers and they confirmed Cantrell had a sexually explicit video of what appeared to be a juvenile female with Inman. Officers seized Cantrell’s phone. Cantrell provided officers with identifying information for Inman.”
Officers located Inman at the Days Inn motel in San Diego. Inman is a convicted felon who is on parole and is also a sex registrant (GPS-monitored ankle bracelet through the California Department of Corrections).
Inman was arrested and admitted to officers that he had the sexually explicit video on his phone, admitted that he knew the female in the video was a minor, and that he and Cantrell engaged in sexual acts with the minor in Cantrell’s room at the Motel 6 in El Cajon, according to ECPD. Officers seized Inman’s phone.
Cantrell was arrested on drug-related charges. Inman was arrested on a parole violation and for possession of child pornography. They were booked into San Diego Central Jail. Detectives are continuing to investigate for additional charges.
“Inman described at least two additional juvenile girls that he and Cantrell had sexual contact with in Cantrell’s room during the past week at the Motel 6,” says Lt. Larson.
The El Cajon Police Department is trying to identify potential victims of Cantrell and Inman. If you have any information related to this incident, please contact the El Cajon Police Department. 619-579-3311