LOS ANGELES, CA (CNS/FOX 11) - Los Angeles police today sought other possible victims of a teenage boy and two men who were arrested for allegedly sexually exploiting a 12-year-old girl after luring her off the street with a promised that she would meet celebrities.
In November, detectives arrested Steven Fernandez, 15, Jose Barajas, 22, and Keelan Dadd, 27, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
"Fernandez ... was the prime mover in this conspiracy," police said. "He is a well-known skateboarder on social media, who also markets a popular clothing brand."
Photos of all three suspects were released today by police, along with the name of the minor. Detective Ninette Toosbuy of the West Valley Division noted that it was "unusual" for authorities to release the name and photo of
an arrested minor.
"But state law provides for such exceptions in cases where the perpetrator sexually targeted minors," Toosbuy said.
The investigation began on Nov. 13, when the girl told detectives that Fernandez had called her over to a car on Ventura Boulevard and used his celebrity as a skater to befriend her and get her into the vehicle, which was
driven by Barajas, who was Fernandez's manager, Toosbuy said.
Fernandez allegedly 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 Fernandez, Barajas, and Dadd, also a professional
skateboarder, Toosbuy said.
"Fernandez and his buddies used his fame and brand to sexually exploit the very girls who made the men rich and famous," Toosbuy said. "We're taking exceptional measures to find additional victims because the fate of some young lives may be at stake."
Fernandez and Barajas were arrested Nov. 17 as part of a sting by detectives who posed as the 12-year-old girl and arranged via text to meet at an abandoned home for sex, Toosbuy said.
Dadd turned himself in to detectives with his lawyer on Dec. 3, Toosbuy said.
All three were booked on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. Barajas' bail was set at $475,000 and Dadd's was set at $200,000. Both men were released on bail. Fernandez, as a minor, was released to his mother and ordered to wear an ankle tracker, Toosbuy said.
"We want parents to look at the names and pictures of the defendants and ask their daughters if there's been any contact," Toosbuy said. "The suspects tended to cruise West San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, and Compton,
looking for young girls to solicit."
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call Toosbuy at (818) 374-7718, or (877) LAPD-247.
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