Redlands police arrest teen’s suspected molester

REDLANDS — A 48-year-old man suspected of molesting a 15-year-old Redlands boy was arrested on Friday.

On Wednesday, Redlands police spokesman Carl Baker said that Joe Phillip Morales may also be wanted in Ontario on similar charges. Reports are that Morales had been molesting the boy since November last year.

Baker said Morales, of Rowland Heights, which is an hour away from Redlands, met the boy in an online chat room last November and began a relationship with him.

On Feb. 16, the victim and a 15-year-old female were reported as runaways by their family. According to police reports, the juveniles were with Morales but their location was unknown.

“They were located by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in Fallbrook (San Diego County),” Baker said. “They contacted the parents, who picked the kids up.”

Police interviewed the juveniles and learned of Morales’ identity. He was arrested “for multiple lewd acts with the 15-year-old” over the last four months, Baker said.

Morales works for a company based in Highland, a community located next to Redlands. He was booked at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. Bail was set at $25,000.

“Detectives also forwarded information to Ontario police for investigation of additional lewd acts that apparently took place in February in an Ontario motel room,” Baker said.

The female, he said, has alleged that a sexual assault also occurred in Ontario.

Baker is advising teenagers to not provide personal information to anyone they meet online. Safety tips for parents are available on the National center for Missing and Exploited Children’s website, www.NetSmartz.org.

Anyone with information is asked to call Det. Andy Capps  at (909) 798-7642.

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