(INSIDE EDITION) — An Illinois-based singer and YouTube star known for appealing to a predominantly young female fan base has been arrested on child porn charges, officials said.
Austin Jones, 24, was charged with two counts of production of child pornography Tuesday after allegedly persuading two 14-year-old girls to send him videos of themselves performing sexual acts, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court.
The two girls were apparently fans of Jones, who rose to internet fame after posting covers and original songs on YouTube. He has more than 500,000 subscribers on the video sharing platform, and in 2015 he performed on Warped Tour.
“Jones’s primary fan base appears to be teenage girls,” the criminal complaint said.
In separate exchanges on Facebook and Apple iMessage, Jones allegedly asked two 14-year-old girls for videos showing them dancing in a sexual manner and at times without pants or underwear on, the complaint said.
In a May 2017 exchange with a 14-year-old girl that was outlined in the complaint, Jones allegedly called their conversation a “tryout” and an “opportunity.”
He instructed the girl on what to do and say in the videos she was to send him, the complaint said, saying “take this seriously,” when she said she was getting tired.
He reportedly demanded that the girl perform on camera to arouse him.
In August 2016, Jones allegedly told the other 14-year-old girl that she needed to “prove” she was his biggest fan by sending him videos.
He allegedly said he wanted to “spank” the girl, saying: “[t]hink about how amazing that would be for you!! To have your favorite singer spanking you’re (sic) a**! If you’re lucky, maybe I’d let you suck my d***.”
Both girls allegedly told Jones how old they were before he asked for the videos, the complaint said.
The two alleged victims allegedly sent Jones 15 and 25 videos, respectively, authorities said.
Jones was arrested Monday night at O’Hare Airport.
Homeland Security Investigations said Jones admitted to speaking with “a number of teenage girls” online, and that he used Facebook to have “sexually explicit chats with the girls; that he directed them to make videos of themselves dancing in a sexually explicit way and instructed them on what to wear, say, and do in the videos, including performing sexual acts, knowing that they were 14 to 15 years old,” the complaint said.
He also allegedly admitted to masturbating to the videos, the criminal complaint said.
Jones appeared in federal court Tuesday and is expected to appear at a bond hearing Wednesday. Federal prosecutors are expected to argue that he is a flight risk.
Jones previously came under fire when in May 2015 he was accused of lying about his age to get underage girls to send him videos of them “twerking.”
Jones issued an apology for his behavior, saying it was inappropriate, but it never crossed the line.
“I’m embarrassed,” he said in a statement posted to Facebook that has since been removed. “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 faces a minimum of 15 years in prison for each of the two charges if he is convicted.
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