SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

March 8, 2013

'Deadbeat dad' heads back to jail

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — Glenda Cantin may never see a dime of the more than $58,000 in child support she’s owed by her ex-husband, Peter Cantin, once one of the state’s top “deadbeat dads.”

But she did get to watch Cantin, 54, being led away in handcuffs to serve out the balance of a two-year jail term yesterday.

“There has to be some consequence for leaving your family in the lurch,” Salem District Court Judge Robert Brennan told Peter Cantin before imposing what had been a partially suspended sentence.

It came after years of legal wrangling and then a four-year absence by the former Beverly man, who abandoned his family during a holiday dinner in 1998 and then disappeared entirely in 2004, failing to pay any support to his two children, now adults.

In 2007, shortly after the state Department of Revenue issued a “wanted” poster featuring 10 Massachusetts fathers who owed large amounts of money to their families and the state (in penalties and interest), Cantin was found in New Hampshire and returned to face charges.

He eventually pleaded guilty the following year and agreed to pay what he owed after serving six months of a two-year jail term.

But he moved back to New Hampshire after his release.

During a hearing in December, a probation officer told Brennan that there had been some problems with arranging for probation officials in New Hampshire to agree to supervise Cantin.

Five days before Christmas, Beverly police brought Cantin back to Massachusetts, where he was ordered held until yesterday’s hearing.

Cantin’s lawyer, John Morris, said yesterday that there had been some hope initially that Cantin’s current girlfriend would be able to raise enough money to put a “significant” dent in the amount Cantin still owes.

But that fell through, Morris told the judge yesterday.

Brennan had two choices: Either put Cantin back on probation, in hopes that he would eventually come up with the money, or impose the 18 months of Cantin’s jail term, which had been suspended back in 2008.

The judge opted for the latter, and Cantin did not object.

Glenda Cantin, who has attended nearly every hearing in the case, as well as other legal proceedings involving her former husband, declined to comment after the hearing.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.