A popular YouTuber has been arrested on child pornography charges, the Chicago Sun-Times confirmed Tuesday. Austin Jones, who currently has 538,000 subscribers, rose to YouTube stardom through his acapella covers of pop music. Jones has been charged with two counts of production of child pornography.
Jones allegedly pressured a young girl to send him sexually explicit videos to “prove” she was his biggest fan, according to prosecutors, as per AOL. Jones allegedly requested explicit videos of young women’s genitalia, knowing they were only 14 or 15 years old, according to court documents.
Jones admitted to investigators that he had directed girls to perform sexual acts on video, despite knowing their age.
Currently, the 24-year-old YouTuber is currently in federal custody and will appear in court on Wednesday for a bond hearing. Prosecutors are advocating for detention and argued that he is a risk to the community and may also flee.
If Austin Jones is convicted, he will face a minimum of 15 years in prison. Jones was arrested Monday night at Chicago O-Hare Airport and on Tuesday, it was reported that he “appeared timid” as he was led into a federal courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, according to the Sun-Times.
Austin Jones was detained by Customs and Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. The rising YouTuber was then taken into custody, where he gave a recorded interview admitting to the charges.
Austin began building his YouTube channel in 2007 and has amassed over 25 million views by covering songs from artists like Justin Bieber, Twenty One Pilots, and Fall Out Boy.
Jones’ music is described online as “earnest, emo-influenced melodic pop music.” Authorities have noted that his primary fan base appears to be “teenage girls.”
In 2014, he released an EP titled We’ll Fall Together. According to his Instagram, which boasts more than 300,000 followers, Jones was previously on tour and recently performed in Poland.
Back in 2015, Jones issued an apology over allegations that he lied about his age to solicit “twerking” videos from underage girls. Jones defended his actions in a lengthy statement via Facebook.
“I’m embarrassed… I’d have conversations online with girls that would involve me asking them to create a video of themselves twerking. Sometimes I’d make videos of myself doing some twerk moves in return. Here’s the truth: I NEVER asked them to do anything more than send a twerking video. Nothing EVER went beyond that.”
The 24-year-old admitted that he was in therapy and seeking help for his past actions.
“I’ve been in therapy, seeking help to discover why I communicated with my fans in a way that I have come to fully realize was not appropriate… To anyone that I have made feel uncomfortable or awkward, I am deeply sorry for the hurt and shame I may have caused you.”
It’s unclear if legal action has been brought against the internet personality for the above incident. Due to the accusations, a Change.Org petition began asking Jones to be removed from the 2015 Vans Warped Tour. The petition received nearly 10,000 signatures.
Jones has not made a public statement about his arrest.
[Featured Image by Austin Jones/Twitter]