The LAPD is investigating YouTuber Ray Diaz after he was accused of statutory rape. According to reports, the accusation was first made by another YouTube star and host of the gossip show The Drama Alert, Daniel Keem. Apparently, Keem interviewed a woman named Angelica Salek – who was in a relationship with Diaz – who said she and Diaz had begun dating while she was 16. Salek went on to allege that, over the course of their relationship, she was the victim of severe physical and emotional abuse. While Salek didn’t admit to a sexual relationship with Diaz, her tone and choice of words appeared to indicate that it was happening, according to Keem.
Upon learning about the accusations, the LAPD decided to open an investigation into Diaz and Salek’s relationship to discover whether or not Diaz engaged in sexual intercourse with his girlfriend while she was a minor, as well as whether or not she was physically abused. An audio clip was played during Keem’s show that appeared to show Diaz verbally abusing Salek. Diaz claims the audio recording was a lesson in voice acting that he learned while taking acting lessons, and that the situation was simply an attempt to “get the juices flowing” before an audition. Salek claims it was not an instance of voice acting and that she was actually being abused. The LAPD hopes to get to the bottom of it all during their investigation and determine if any crimes were actually committed.
Statutory rape is covered under California Penal Code 261.5 PC and is described as an adult having sex with anyone under the age of 18 (the legal age of consent in California). According to the law, it does not matter if the sex was consensual, nor does it matter if it was the minor who initiated the sexual intercourse. The important part of the law is regrading the age of the people engaged in intercourse, not how it occurred.
Statutory rape is a “wobbler” in California, meaning that it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances of the case and the prior criminal history of the defendant. If charged as a misdemeanor, the possible penalties include informal probation, up to 1 year in county jail, and/or a fine of up to $1,000. For felony convictions, the potential penalties include probation (formal or informal) with up to 1 year in county jail, OR 16 months to 3 years in jail, unless the defendant was over 21 and the victim was under 16, in which case the jail sentence is increased to either 2 or 4 years. Also, felony convictions include up to $10,000 in fines.