A former YouTube star with a large teenage following has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for coercing six girls to send him sexually explicit videos.
- Austin Jones pleaded guilty in Febraury to child pornography
- He requested sexually explicit videos from some of his underage fans
- Prosecutors said Jones “preyed on their youth, vulnerabilities and adoration of him”
Prosecutors in Chicago’s federal court had sought an 11-year prison sentence for Austin Jones, while the defence wanted the minimum of five years.
Jones, of Bloomingdale, Illinois pleaded guilty in February to child pornography.
Jones used Facebook and Apple’s iMessage service to request sexually explicit videos from girls aged about 14 and 15.
Prosecutors said the 26-year-old singer admitted to reaching out to 30 other girls online before his arrest on child pornography charges in 2017.
Prosecutors alleged Jones sent numerous messages to two 14-year-old female fans in 2016 and 2017 in which he instructed them to expose their genitals in videos sent to him through Facebook.
A review of his social media activities showed that “his primary fan base appears to be teenage girls”, the court documents said, adding that Facebook shut down Jones’s page a month before he was charged due to his involvement with minors on the network.
YOUTUBE:Austin Jones’s fans are posting his music videos after the singer had his account removed.
In addition to giving the girls suggestions for poses and underwear choices, Jones frequently gave them “lines” to recite.
In a court filing last week, prosecutors said Jones “preyed on their youth, their vulnerabilities and most glaringly, their adoration of him”.
A defence filing contended Jones’s life was “marred with abuse, pain, loss and death”, asserting that he suffered sexual abuse as a child.
Some of Jones’s music videos garnered millions of views on YouTube, which he parlayed into tours