YouTube star Austin Jones charged with seeking explicit video of underage fans

Jones, 24, who has millions of YouTube views, in custody after allegedly employing social media to solicit videos from two teenage girls

A 24 -year-old YouTube singer with a teen fan base has been charged with using social media to solicit explicit videos from two young female fans.

Austin Jones was charged with two counts of production of child abuse images, according to a complaint filed on Tuesday in US district court in Chicago, where he appeared. He is being held in federal detention pending another hearing on Thursday.

Jones has racked up millions of views on YouTube with his encompass of pop ballads and has more than 200,000 adherents across his Twitter, Instagram and YouTube channels.

Jones lawyer Gerardo Solon Gutierrez said by phone that the singer was innocent until proven guilty.

His arrest marked another scandal involving YouTubes social media personalities. In February, YouTube and Walt Disney Co cut ties with the influential Swedish social media starring PewDiePie, who boasted some 53 million YouTube adherents, after he posted a series of videos deemed antisemitic.

According to the federal grievance, Jones used Facebook and Apple Incs iMessage service to request sexually explicit videos from daughters aged about 14 to 15.

The documents allege that Jones sent numerous messages to two 14 -year-old female fans from 2016 and 2017 in which he instructed them to expose their genitals in videos sent to him through Facebook.

Austin
Austin Jones in a music video. Photograph: YouTube

A review of his social media activities showed that his primary fan base appears to be teenage girls, the court documents told, adding that Facebook shut down Jones page a month ago due to his involvement with minors on the network.

Facebook said in a statement on Wednesday: We have zero tolerance for sharing or soliciting child exploitative images or videos on Facebook, and we cooperate with law enforcement agencies that investigate these crimes.

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