Salinas Man Gets 81-to-Life for Child Molestation
Ernest Morales booking photo
SALINAS — 47-year-old Ernest Vega Morales has been sentenced to 81 years to life in prison following his conviction of child molestation.
Back in March, a jury found Morales guilty on all charges, including one charge of sexual penetration of a child 10 years of age or under, forcible lewd acts on a child, four counts of lewd acts on a child, two counts of criminal threats, two counts of dissuading a witness by force or fear, and an additional allegation of several offenses against multiple victims.
Under the Three Strikes Law, Morales conviction will constitute 10 strikes. He will also have to register as a sex offender for life.
The oldest victim, now an adult, testified that Morales molested her in his trailer when she was 7 years old. At the time, he was the neighbor of one of her relatives.
The second victim testified that Morales molested her on two occasions between 2012 and 2013, when she was 8 years old. He is alleged to have picked her up from a friend’s home and driven her to a secluded area before committing his crimes. He also threatened to kill her family if she told anyone what had happened.
The girl did not tell her mother until March of 2015, after he had moved away.
Morales and his crimes were investigated by Salinas Police Department Officer Anthony Garcia, and has been formally sentenced by Judge Julie R. Culver.