Authorities say man sexually abused teenage girl in Prospect Heights motel

  • Gabriel Melendez-Morales

    Gabriel Melendez-Morales

 
 
Updated 1/24/2020 3:40 PM

A 27-year-old man who authorities say met a 16-year-old girl through a phone app and sexually abused her at a Prospect Heights motel was ordered held on $350,000 bail Friday, prosecutors said.

Gabriel Melendez-Morales -- who prosecutors say has two sexual abuse cases pending in DuPage County -- is charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison. Probation is also available.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Prosecutors say Melendez-Morales, who is from Chicago, created a profile on the Yubo app that indicated he was 17. Operated by a French company, Yubo is a social networking app that according to the website "helps millions of people around the world make new friends."

Melendez-Morales and his accuser met through the app, said Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Jennifer Gates.

The girl's profile stated she was 16, Gates said.

On another messaging app they used to communicate, Melendez-Morales told the girl his real age, Gates said.

On Nov. 17, 2019, he picked her up at a Vernon Hills shopping mall and drove her to a motel in Prospect Heights, where he sexually abused her, Gates said.

The next day, the teen's mother discovered messages on her phone, including one in which the "defendant advised her to take the morning-after pill," Gates said.

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Motel surveillance video shows Melendez-Morales checking in, letting the girl in through a side door, entering a room and eventually leaving the motel, Gates said.

In DuPage County, Melendez-Morales is accused of sexually abusing a child between 13 and 16.

In a second case, he's accused of sexually abusing another 16-year-old girl he met through Yubo, Gates said.

"Clearly, the defendant has a pattern of preying on teenage girls and as such poses a danger or risk to the community," she said.

Melendez-Morales is prohibited from contacting his accuser and may not have contact with anyone under age 18 except for a relative he lives with. He was also prohibited from using a cellphone or the internet, Gates said.

Melendez-Morales next appears in court on Feb. 7.

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