Detectives are searching for other possible victims of a 15-year-old YouTube star who allegedly exploited a 12-year-old girl, offering to introduce her to celebrities and include her in a made-up MTV special in return for sex, Los Angeles police said.
The investigation began Nov. 13, when Compton, California, resident Steven Fernandez, who goes by "Baby Scumbag," used his celebrity status to get the victim into a car being driven by his 22-year-old manager, Jose Barajas, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Fernandez's skateboarding videos have garnered millions of views on YouTube. He also markets a popular clothing brand and was the subject of a "Frontline" documentary when he was 13.
According to police, Fernandez allegedly promised the 12-year-old victim he would introduce her to A-list celebrities and give her an appearance in his non-existent MTV special if she had sex with him and two other people, including his manager and 27-year-old professional skater Keelan Lamar Dadd.
Fernandez and Barajas were arrested four days later after detectives posed as the victim and arranged through text message to meet the suspects at an abandoned home for sex, police said. Dadd surrendered to police on Dec. 3.
All three were booked on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14.
Fernandez was released to his mother and ordered to wear an ankle tracker pending his court appearance, police said.
Though he is a minor, police say Fenandez's name was made public because state law allows it when a perpetrator sexually targets minors. Fernandez "was the prime mover in this conspiracy," police said.
Bail for Barajas was set at $475,000 and Dadd at $200,000. Both men were out on bail. It's not clear if any of the three suspects hired attorneys who could comment on the charges.
Police are asking any potential other victims to come forward.
"We want parents to look at the names and pictures of the defendants and ask their daughters if there's been any contact," LAPD Det. Ninette Toosbuy said. "The suspects tended to cruise the West San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and Compton looking for young girls to solicit."
Fernandez grew up poor in Compton and supported his family with the money he earned from posting videos on YouTube, according to "Frontline."
A post on a Twitter account that appears to belong to Dadd said, "I ask that you please hold your judgment of me until all of the facts come to light and the truth is uncovered. I am innocent. I could, nor would I ever, do any of the things that are being alleged. To those of you who have reached out offering your support, words cannot express my gratitude. - Keelan"