An alleged incident involving Joseph Diaz Jr. that was previously dismissed by authorities is now the subject of a civil lawsuit.
The former IBF junior lightweight titlist has been accused of attempting to entice or coerce a minor into engaging in sexual acts through use of mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, according to a lawsuit filed April 7 with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The filed claims stem from an alleged incident on or about September 3, 2020, where the alleged victim—identified only as Jane Doe—claims to have received an unsolicited, explicit picture of Diaz exposing his genitalia while she was just 17 at the time. Diaz was less than three months from his 28th birthday at the time of the alleged incident.
The complainant seeks “liquidated damages in the amount of $150,000 as compensation for the damages Plaintiff suffered for the unsolicited, explicit photograph sent to her by Defendant in an attempt to entice or coerce her into engaging in sexual acts,” as claimed in a ten-page lawsuit, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com.
According to the complaint, the alleged victim claims to have received a message from Diaz on September 3 through social media app SnapChat. The complainant—who is the younger sister of a woman who used to date the boxer—did not receive the message until the next morning, “because her parents routinely held the minor children’s cellphones in the house each evening,” as explained by Rajan O. Dhungana, lead counsel for Ms. Doe.
The complainant then claims to have only partially slid the message prior to opening, as to not allow it to immediately disappear, a common SnapChat feature. According to the complaint, the alleged victim claimed to have been “shocked and upset” by the message, at which point she showed her mother who used another phone to take a picture of the “sexually graphic material” as proof of incident.
The matter was then brought to the attention of the plaintiff’s father, who in turn contacted Diaz’s father to inform of the incident in question. According to the complaint, Diaz’s father confirmed that the boxer did in fact send the image, though by mistake in citing excessive drinking as the cause of the mishap.
For reasons not yet explained in the complaint, the plaintiff waited for a little more than a year before going to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) seeking criminal charges. A police report was filed “on or about September 20, 2021,” with a detective assigned to the case contacting the plaintiff’s father more than two months later “on or about November 30, 2021. During the conversation, it was explained that a separate interview with Diaz revealed that the boxer claimed that “his girlfriend accessed his Snapchat account and sent the photograph to plaintiff.”
The investigation concluded soon thereafter without charges filed. The current complaint alleges that authorities questioned why the plaintiff sought to pursue such charges being that “Mr. Diaz seemed like a nice kid.”
The matter did not sit well with the unidentified plaintiff, who obtained evidence in pursuit of justice through a civil court. The complaint was filed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2255(b) on the basis that the alleged incident falls within the statute of limitations since it is “within 10 years of the violation and injury, and within 10 years of Plaintiff turning 18 years of age.”
Diaz has until April 29—21 days from April 8, when the summons was issued (though Diaz was in San Antonio at the time)—to formally respond to the complaint. According to court records, a defense attorney is not yet assigned to the case on behalf of the boxer.
The lawsuit comes as Diaz (32-2-1, 15KOs) eyes a potential ring return in June or July, according to Golden Boy Promotions in a previous conversation with BoxingScene.com prior and unrelated to this matter. The 29-year-old southpaw from South El Monte, California last fought in a competitive but clear unanimous decision defeat to WBC lightweight titlist Devin Haney (27-0, 15KOs) last December 4 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The loss to Haney ended a seven-fight unbeaten streak that included Diaz’s twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Tevin Farmer in January 2020 to claim the IBF junior lightweight title. The pandemic stunted his plans to defend the belt in 2020, returning last February only to miss weight and forfeit the belt at the scales prior to his twelve-round, majority decision draw with unbeaten mandatory challenger Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.
Diaz rebounded with a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Javier Fortuna last July 9 in his Los Angeles home region. Diaz accepted the fight in place of Ryan Garcia (22-0, 18KOs), who he was supposed to fight last November 27. Garcia withdrew from the Fortuna fight citing a needed mental health reset. He was then forced to pull out of the fight with Diaz due to a hand/wrist injury requiring surgery, with Diaz going on to instead face Haney.
Diaz was ringside for Garcia’s celebrated ring return this past Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Garcia outpointed Ghana’s Emmanuel Tagoe (32-2, 15KOs) over twelve rounds, though little discussion came of an opponent for his next fight, versus Diaz or otherwise.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox