Warning: This article contains details which some people may find distressing. We will provide pre-warning before the more sensitive details, but please exercise general caution.
YouTuber Austin Jones has been charged with two counts of making child pornography. According to The Chicago Sun Times, the YouTuber was this week charged with using Facebook and iMessage to “ask teenage girls to make sexually explicit videos and send them to him.” Austin is known for his song covers and has over 500,000 YouTubers subscribers at the time of writing (though this is likely to drop).
Did he know they were underage?
Austin has reportedly admitted to the charges. The details of his alleged offences indicate that he was well aware that the girls were underage and that, in fact, he was seeking out girls for their young age. The Chicago Tribune reports that in one chat with a victim from this April, Jones told her to dance in a “sexually suggestive manner” and (warning: the following details are sensitive) that he also told her to”make it clap super loud and talk about your age the whole time.”
What does the law say?
In basically every country, laws relating to child pornography are some of the strictest and least forgiving. Asking an underage person to send you explicit material is often automatically regarded as ‘making’ child pornography and Austin’s alleged directions as to what to send play into that. Him receiving the images would also automatically make him guilty of possession. These are Federal offences as well as State ones, so he may be charged on both a state and national level. US laws are very strong on this issue and if found guilty he will serve a minimum of fifteen years in prison.
This is not the first accusation he has faced
You may recall that two years ago, Austin faced huge public backlash after it emerged that he had asked fans (a lot of them underage) to send him videos of them twerking. This got him into trouble for a while, but he did not face legal trouble.
At the time Austin issued a statement that denied he was a sexual deviant. He said: “I’d have conversations online with girls that would involve me asking them to create a video of themselves twerking. Sometimes I’d make videos of myself doing some twerk moves in return. Here’s the truth: I NEVER asked them to do anything more than send a twerking video. Nothing EVER went beyond that.”
Austin has now been granted bail before his trial begins. Bail means that he is allowed to go free in the period before his trial, rather than being held in jail. Bail is granted to offenders who are unlikely to try and run away before their trial. He will be living at his family home until the trial commences – and he has also be forbidden from using the internet.
It is worth reiterating at this point that everyone should think very carefully before sending anything sexually explicit to someone else electronically. Once something is put online it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have it removed.
Importantly: If you are underage, do not send explicit material of yourself at all, because you can open both the recipient and yourself possible charges of making an distributing child pornography. You should also be extremely wary of anyone asking you to send them sexually explicit material of yourself, even if it seems innocent. If someone older is pressuring you to send them sexual material, report them to the police. For more information, please go to this website.