LOS ANGELES — A 25-year-old Anaheim, California, man is facing felony charges of assault and hate crimes in connection with violent attacks against women in Orange County, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Johnny Deven Young posted videos on his YouTube channel that show him sexually harassing and pepper-spraying women in at least two attacks between November 2021 and April 2022 in Costa Mesa, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.
The incidents occurred near the Triangle Square shopping center. In the November 2021 incident, a 24-year-old woman was leaving a bar when Young verbally harassed her, asking to see her genitals and have sex with her, according to police. Young allegedly sprayed a chemical agent on the woman and her companion, a 29-year-old man.
Prosecutors said Young is a self-described “incel,” a portmanteau of “involuntary celibates,” an online subculture of disgruntled men who espouse misogynistic views and express sexual frustration about their inability to attract women.
Once videos began circulating on social media, the Costa Mesa Police Department identified Young as a suspect in the Orange County attacks.
At the time, Young had been arrested and convicted of misdemeanor information theft in San Mateo County. He was subsequently transferred to Orange County Jail.
In the Orange County attacks, Young has been charged with four counts of felony assault with great bodily injury, four counts of felony illegal use of tear gas, four counts of felony use of a deadly weapon and five misdemeanor civil rights violations.
Prosecutors are seeking hate crime enhancements that could lengthen Young’s prison sentence. He could face up to 13 years in prison if convicted.
“No one should have to live in fear that they could be indiscriminately attacked and then publicly humiliated on the internet because of their gender,” Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer said in a statement Tuesday. “This behavior is disgusting, and the celebration of this behavior by like-minded individuals is completely unacceptable. These charges send a very strong message to that entire community that we will not tolerate violence against women in any form.”
The pepper-spray attacks were not the first time Young was arrested for violent threats. In August 2019, he and another man shouted “white power” at XS Nightclub at Encore in Las Vegas and threatened to “shoot up the place” after they were kicked out, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The men were charged with making false threats in an act of terrorism.
Young was later found guilty of harassment motivated by bias or hate and was sentenced to one year in Clark County Detention Center.
In the Orange County case, Young’s bail was set at $500,000. His arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 10 at the Orange County Superior Court’s Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.