YouTube singer Austin Jones is changing his tune… he’ll be singing the blues now after being sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The 26-year-old was handed down the prison sentence for asking underage girls to send him sexually explicit videos of themselves to prove that they’re fans.

The singer crooned acapella covers of popular songs and performed in a national tour.  If you look at the fan base of the suburban Chicago singer, most of them are teenager girls.

Police arrested him in 2017 on two counts of production of child pornography.

Jones admitted that he convinced six underage girls to make pornographic videos of themselves and send them to him.  The girls were as young as 14.

In February, he pleaded guilty.  On Friday, U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee sentenced him to 10 years in federal prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh made a statement about Jones in the government’s sentencing memorandum.

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

The Department of Justice said that to get the videos, Jones told some of the girls to give him proof that they were his biggest fans.  He said that they “were part of a modeling opportunity, and that he could assist them in gaining followers on Instagram”.

Jones admitted that he used Facebook to persuade the underage girls, as young as 14, to send him pornographic videos and pictures approximately 30 other times.

Long before his arrest, he came under fire for how he interacted with young fans.

He posted a 16-minute YouTube video in June of 2015, looking directly at the camera and admitting he used to ask fans to send him twerking videos.

That link to the YouTube video now says the account associated with it has been terminated.

YouTube singer Austin Jones account terminated.

YouTube singer Austin Jones account terminated.

 

YouTube says it has policies in place for dealing with YouTubers who are convicted of crimes. They stipulate that unless a YouTuber’s content violates the site’s terms of service or is closely related to the crime(s) they committed, their channel will remain standing.

In the past, YouTube ruled that Jones did not make content closely related to his crimes.  They did, however, demonetize the channel after he was arrested in 2017.

After reviewing the official criminal complaint and Jones’ 27-page plea agreement, YouTube pulled the channel in accordance with its policies.

While they didn’t give an official statement, it’s likely Jones’ channel was in violation of policies because he used the fame he built there (which had 534,000 subscribers) to lure in young girls.

“Nothing ever went further than twerking videos,” he said. “There were never any nudes, never any physical contact.”

Also in that video, he blamed his alleged battle with depression to him seeking attention by asking fans for the videos. 

The first arrest of Jones was in June 2017 at O’Hare International Airport, and he was questioned in a recorded interview.

During that arrest, authorities say they found dozens of pornographic videos on Jones’ phone.

“Mr. Jones is scared,” said Gerardo Solon Gutierrez, who was his lawyer. 

That was until Gutierrez made that statement to CNN and Jones’ family fired him. 

When CNN contacted Jones’ new lawyer, he hung up on the reporter.

The complaint says that Jones waived his Miranda rights and admitted to using Facebook to have sexually explicit chats with underage girls, receive explicit videos from them and view those videos for sexual pleasure.

According to the federal criminal complaint, they have at least two documented instances of Jones messaging teenage girls to send him explicit videos of themselves dancing.

One of the cited examples showed that he messaged a 14-year-old girl and asked her to send videos of herself dancing in a sexual manner and referred to it as a “try out” and an “opportunity.”

The complaint says Jones instructed the girls on how to shake or “clap” their buttocks and expose themselves in videos for him. 

“I’m just trying to help you!” Jones wrote in one message to a victim, according to the documents. “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.” 

According to the complaint, here are the instructions he gave to one girl:

“At the beginning, get super close and say these lines: hey Austin, it’s (name) and this butt is (age) years old and then make it clap for 30 seconds. Got it?” Jones wrote on Facebook to the girl.

That girl ultimately sent him about 15 videos of her dancing, including 10 videos in which she exposed herself.

Jones faced a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years.