YouTube Star Austin Jones Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges After Coercing Fans To Send Nude Videos

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YouTube star Austin Jones amassed a huge following of young fans through the songs he shared on his channel, but now the 26-year-old has pleaded guilty to preying on those young female fans by coercing them to send nude images.

The singer pleaded guilty to child pornography charges after admitting he convinced six underage female fans to share sexually explicit videos of themselves, the New York Post reported. The Indiana man pleaded guilty to a count of child pornography in U.S. district court, though Judge John Lee allowed him to remain free on bail so he could seek psychiatric counseling, the report noted.

Austin Jones admitted to investigators that he spoke with six girls between the ages of 14 and 15 from 2016 to 2017, and would encourage the girls to send sexually explicit videos to him. As People magazine reported, Jones would tell the underage girls to “prove” how big of a fan they were by sharing the explicit videos.

Allegations against Jones had surfaced for years before his arrest in 2017 at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. Back in 2015, he took to Facebook to issue an apology after allegations that he encouraged girls to send racy videos of themselves dancing. At the time, Jones admitted it was true, but said there was no nefarious purpose to his request for “twerking” videos.

“I’m embarrassed,” Jones wrote. “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.”

Jones, who was 24 at the time, also told fans that he was now in therapy to better understand why he communicated with fans in a way that he said he now realized was inappropriate.

“To anyone that I have made feel uncomfortable or awkward, I am deeply sorry for the hurt and shame I may have caused you,” he wrote.

But the guilty plea for Austin Jones showed that he continued seeking out underage girls to send explicit videos for at least two more years after this apology.

Jones had more than 500,000 subscribers on YouTube, with videos of his songs garnering millions of views.

Austin Jones now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years, a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois noted.