Teen skater and YouTube star Steve Fernandez was arrested in November for allegedly trying to use his internet fame to solicit sex from a 12-year-old girl. The Los Angeles Police Department announced this week that Fernandez, 15, and two of his older friends are being investigated for sexual exploitation of teens.
The tween victim told detectives that Fernandez and two men “called her over to a car on Ventura Boulevard” and “promised to introduce the girl to A-list performers and appear in Fernandez’s non-existent MTV special in return for her engaging in sexual acts” with them.
Police arranged a sting by posing as the 12-year-old and setting up a meeting with Fernandez for sex in an abandoned building. One of the other men, Fernandez’s 22-year-old manager Jose Barajas, was also caught up in the sting.
The third man in the car, 27-year-old pro skater Keelan Dadd, didn’t go with them to the meeting, but later turned himself in to police
Police believe there may have been other victims, and that “the suspects tended to cruise West San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, and Compton, looking for young girls to solicit.”
Fernandez’s attorney, Ryan D’Ambrosio, claims Fernandez was an innocent victim who was exploited by adults.
“Once the investigation is complete, I think evidence will show that Steven’s celebrity status was preyed on by the adults who were arrested in this matter,” he said in a statement.
Fernandez continues to post on social media, where his schtick is mainly posting photos of himself with crowds and girls, and promoting his clothing line. The most recent video on his YouTube account shows him leaning out the passenger window of an SUV, trying to pick up girls.
Fernandez is just the latest young video star to be accused of sexual misconduct. Teenage Vine hunk Carter Reynolds was seen on video apparently pressuring a 16-year-old girl for oral sex, and controversial British prankster Sam Pepper, 26, was accused of rape and sexual harassment last year.
Despite the public outcry against them, both continue to make videos and command wide audiences. Chances are Fernandez will too.