The formerly popular YouTuber Austin Jones has plead guilty in an Illinois court to one count of felony child pornography following his June 2017 arrest.
The YouTube singer posted hundreds of videos to his channel beginning in 2007 of him singing a capella to top emo tracks from bands including My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy, garnering him a large following of teenage girls.
Less than two weeks after his arrest, he attempted to “set the record straight” in a video posted to his channel, denying the allegations made against him:
“I shouldn’t have asked you to do that, it was foolish of me… But there were never any nudes, never any physical contact. It never happened.”
26-year-old Austin is now acknowledging his wrongdoings in a 27-page plea agreement that he had conversations via Facebook messenger and Apple chat with six different teenage girls, ages 14 and 15, from 2010 to 2017, where he encouraged them to send him explicit videos to “prove” they were his “biggest fan,” or offered them “modeling opportunities” in exchange for these videos. Additionally, he attempted to coerce at least 30 other young girls to do the same.
Currently, Austin remains free on bail to continue psychiatric counseling before his May 3 sentencing. The Chicago Tribune reports that Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh said he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years.