YouTube star Austin Jones gets 10 years in prison in child porn case

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(CBS) — Former YouTuber and musician Austin Jones has been sentenced to 10 years in prison “for enticing several underage girls, some as young as 14 years old, to produce sexually explicit videos of themselves,” the Justice Department said. 

In February, 26-year-old Jones, who is from Bloomingdale, Illinois, pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography, the Justice Department said in a news release Friday. 

“Jones admitted in a plea agreement that in 2016 and 2017 he chatted with six underage girls on Facebook and enticed them to produce pornographic videos of themselves and send them to him,” the release said. “Jones told some of his victims to send him the videos as a way to ‘prove’ they were his biggest fans. He also told some of his victims that the videos were part of a modeling opportunity and that he could assist them in gaining followers on Instagram.”

Jones also admitted to using Facebook around 30 other times to try to persuade minors to send him “sexually explicit” videos and photos, according to prosecutors. 

“Production and receipt of child pornography are extraordinarily serious offenses that threaten the safety of our children and communities,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh said in a sentencing memo. “Jones’ actions took something from his victims and their families that they will never be able to get back.”

Jones had faced a minimum sentence of five years in jail and a maximum sentence of two decades. Prosecutors asked for an 11-year sentence. 

“Today’s sentencing of Austin Jones represents a major step towards justice for the young victims whom he manipulated and exploited,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent-in-Charge James Gibbons said in a statement.

Jones gained popularity on YouTube covering popular songs, leading to hundreds of thousands of subscribers and concerts all over the country. He was arrested on child porn charges in 2017 and had previously admitted to asking fans to make twerking videos. “Nothing ever went further than twerking videos,” he said in an apology video at the time. “There were never any nudes, never any physical contact.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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