Austin Jones, who built a sizeable fanbase performing both original songs and covers on YouTube, has been charged in his hometown of Chicago over allegations he coerced two underage female fans into sending him sexually explicit videos.
The 24 year old singer has more than 500,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel and some of his videos have topped a million views.
According to a criminal complaint unsealed yesterday, Jones allegedly had online conversations with two fourteen year old girls in which he encouraged them to send him sexually explicit videos in order to “prove” they were his biggest fan.
The legal papers also allege that he wrote to one of his victims: “I’m just trying to help you! I know you’re trying your hardest to prove you’re my biggest fan. And I don’t want to have to find someone else”.
Jones was arrested on Monday evening after landing at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, and was subsequently charged with two felony counts of ‘production of child pornography’, each of which carry a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years in jail if he is found guilty.
YouTuber Jones previously courted controversy two years ago when he encouraged his young fans to send videos of themselves ‘twerking’ after Miley Cyrus made the suggestive dance move briefly popular.
After a barrage of online criticism, Jones posted a lengthy apology on YouTube. He subsequently took a hiatus from social media and spoke of the pressure he felt after receiving death threats in relation to the controversy. His career had taken off again of late though, and he had just completed a European tour prior to his arrest.[from http://ift.tt/2lvivLP]