YouTuber Austin Jones Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges & Coercing Underaged Fans To Send Explicit Videos

Former YouTube star Austin Jones faces a minimum of five years in federal prison after pleading guilty on Friday to child pornography charges. Jones reportedly coerced multiple underage female fans to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves and attempted to do the same to almost 30 other victims, The Chicago Tribune reports. 

The Chicago area 26-year-old became famous on YouTube after uploading his acapella covers of pop songs to the site in 2013. Following his child pornography charges, he still has around 500,000 subscribers. 

Jones admitted to prosecutors in a plea agreement to asking for lewd photos and videos from six underage fans via Facebook messages and Apple Chat to “prove” that they were his “biggest fan.” All were around the ages of 14 and 15 years old, Complex reports. He also admitted to soliciting other underage female fans to send him images and videos on 30 other occasions. 

In the videos, Jones reportedly would press the girls to talk about their ages “the whole time” and give specific instructions on how to dance and what to wear. According to BuzzFeed News, Jones repeatedly promised the girls a modeling opportunity or an increased Instagram following in exchange for explicit material. 

Back in June of 2017, Jones was arrested for child pornography. He was also prohibited by a judge from using the internet and social media and required to stay in his mother’s home, BuzzFeed News reports.

Several young girls posted on social media in 2015 alleging that Jones had asked them to make videos of them twerking. As these allegations circulated, approximately 9,000 people signed a petition to have him removed from Warped Tour that year. Jones was later removed from the lineup. 

At the time, Jones posted a video apologizing for having “communicated with my fans in a way that I have come to fully realize was not appropriate,” but he claimed it was never more than twerking videos. 

Jones faces between five and 20 years in federal prison, along with psychological counseling and sex offender treatment, The Chicago Tribune reports. His sentence hearing is scheduled for May 3, 2019.