Crime

YouTube Star Austin Jones Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charge

YouTube singer Austin Jones faces at least five years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of child pornography Friday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The 26-year-old, who was charged with two felony counts of production of child pornography in 2017, will remain free on bail after appearing before U.S. District Judge John Lee in a Chicago court.

While prosecutors pressed for Jones to be taken into custody as he awaits his sentencing in May, the judge allowed his release so that he can continue to seek psychiatric counseling. 

In a 27-page plea agreement cited by the Associated Press, Jones admitted to encouraging six 14- and 15-year-old girls to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves from 2010 to 2017.

The musician, who gained a sizeable teen following after his covers of pop hits and original songs garnered millions of views, used his fame to manipulate the girls, according to the Tribune.

In one such instance, Jones told a 14-year-old that she was “so lucky” to have his attention, asking her to remove her underwear to “prove you’re my biggest fan” the newspaper reported citing a criminal complaint filed in 2017.

In 2015, he faced allegations of impropriety when he was accused of asking female fans to send videos of them twerking. He later apologized in a YouTube video, explaining that there were no nude videos and no physical contact.

With sentencing set for May 3, Jones faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison with a maximum of 20 years.

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