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He Asked Young Fans to 'Prove' Themselves. Now, a Guilty Plea

Austin Jones could see 20 years on child porn charges for enticing girls to send explicit videos
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2019 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – A YouTube star indicted in 2017 on child pornography charges pleaded guilty to one count Friday, admitting he lured six young teens into making and sending him explicit videos in which they danced provocatively, talked about how old they were, and showed their genitals, breasts, and anuses to him at his request, per BuzzFeed and the Washington Post. The girls that Austin Jones, 26, communicated with between 2010 and 2017 using either Facebook or Apple's iMessage were 14 or 15 years old, and the risque videos Jones asked them to send his way were, per Jones, so they could "prove" they were his "biggest fan," according to the plea agreement, which adds he tried to get even more girls to send similar material on "approximately 30 other occasions." His June 2017 indictment lays out details in the cases of two victims, whom Jones would very graphically tell how to dress, dance, and pose.

Rumors of Jones' antics were boosted in spring 2015, when an anonymous teen created a petition to boot him from the Vans Warped Tour. "Austin Jones is now taking advantage of his fame," the petition creator wrote. "On numerous accounts, he has pressured girls as young as 13 into sending him videos of them twerking. As a 15 year old girl, I find this disgusting." Per court documents, a doctor who worked with Jones after his arrest says he underwent treatment to "process underlying traumas that he had yet to address in any healthy, complete way"; Jones was said to have been sexually abused by a close relative and lost a brother. Jones, who has remained free on bail while receiving mental health help, has his sentencing set for May 3, per the Chicago Tribune. He could see between five and 20 years in prison and will also need counseling and sex offender treatment. (Read more Austin Jones stories.)

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