YouTube Star Austin Jones, Who Admitted Collecting Sexual Videos From Minors, To Be Sentenced In Child Porn Case

Jones is facing years in prison for soliciting sexually explicit “twerking” videos from underage girls.

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt

Former YouTube star Austin Jones is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in a child pornography case.

Jones will appear in Chicago’s federal court on Friday for his sentencing, the Chicago Tribune reports. The U.S. attorney’s office is asking for an 11-year prison sentence for the 26-year-old singer, who they say manipulated his underage fanbase into sending him the sexually explicit videos on multiple occasions. Prosecutors believe that Jones coerced six girls between the ages of 14 and 15 into sending him videos, and pursued 30 more, according to the publication.

Conversely, Jones’ defense team is seeking the minimum sentence of five years, and are attributing his actions to the sexual abuse they say he suffered as a child at the hands of his father, according to the Tribune. Jones’ father, who is no longer alive but who allegedly abused alcohol and drugs during his life, in addition to abusing his son, “helped create the conditions in which Mr. Jones acted in the manner that he did,” Jones’ attorneys, Terrence LeFevour and David Gaeger, claimed in one court filing obtained by the paper.

Jones pleaded guilty in February to receiving child pornography, two years after he was first arrested in June 2017 over accusations that he’d had inappropriate contact with underage girls via Facebook messaging. He was initially charged with two counts of producing child pornography before accepting a plea deal wherein he pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography.

Prosecutors laid out their claims against Jones in a court filing last week, according to the Tribune.

“He preyed on their youth, their vulnerabilities and most glaringly, their adoration of him, and he did it over and over again,” they wrote. “He coached the girls on what to wear, what to say, how to dance and what to do in the videos.”

Jones was previously accused in 2015 of persuading underage girls to send him explicit videos, but while he admitted then to asking for “twerking” videos, he denied asking for anything else. He confessed to soliciting sexually explicit videos, and masturbating while watching them, during interviews with authorities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Illinois said in a release February.

In addition to prison time, Jones may also be facing a $250,000 fine, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

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