Former YouTube singer Austin Jones to spend 10 years in jail for child porn


  • TECH
  • Tuesday, 07 May 2019

Former YouTuber Austin Jones told his underage victims to send him explicit videos as a way for them to show him that they were his biggest fans. — YouTube

Former YouTuber Austin Jones has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for child pornography. The 26-year-old has pleaded guilty to enticing six underage girls into producing and sending him sexually explicit videos. His youngest victim was 14 years old.

The incidents took place in 2016 and 2017, when Jones approached his victims by contacting them online via Facebook and iMessage. 

According to a report on BuzzFeed news, Jones persuaded the victims to send him explicit videos by saying that it was a way for them to prove their admiration for him. He also told some of his victims that the videos will be used for him to assess their modelling abilities and help them to grow a social media following.

Jones was a popular YouTuber who posted covers of songs on the video streaming site. He had over 530,000 subscribers and made videos with more than 40 million views before YouTube removed the channel in February. He also had over 220,000 followers on Twitter before the account was deleted.

Over the years, a number of YouTube content creators have been accused of using their influence to prey on female fans. In 2014, BBC Newsbeat reported that six women have accused YouTuber Sam Pepper of sexual harassment.

Dottie Martin, 18 at the time, claimed that Pepper had tried to touch her around her chest area and moved her hand towards his pants area during a date. Another victim shared part of a sexually explicit Facebook conversation that she had with Pepper when she was 15. Yet another 15-year-old victim claimed that Pepper had groped her.

Pepper, 30, has denied all the accusations against him. 

In the same year, Pepper was widely criticised for uploading a prank video where he would pretend to approach women for directions before secretly pinching their behinds with his hand. He claimed the video, which has since been removed from YouTube, was uploaded as part of a social experiment. Pepper was making content under the channel Official Sam Pepper which has over two million subscribers. The channel is still active on YouTube.

He is now posting on YouTube under the new handle Sam Pepper Live where he has over 300,000 subscribers. 

In 2018, BuzzFeed News detailed an account on how a popular YouTuber who goes by the handle LionMaker used his platform to lure underage fans into a relationship with him. LionMaker's content were mostly centered around Minecraft, the adventure videogame. 

Back in 2015, LionMaker – real name Marcus Wilton – had posted a series of tweets about being in a relationship with a 14-year-old YouTuber based in the UK. He had also apparently posted nude images of the YouTuber online. The tweets were later deleted and Wilton claimed that he was hacked.

The tweets led to a report by Vice which uncovered how Wilton had previously asked a 12-year-old fan for nude photos after approaching her on Twitter. A 16-year-old male fan claimed that Wilton transferred him money online in exchange for nude photographs of himself. Wilton denied the claims and again reiterated that he had been hacked. 

Wilton's LionMakersStudios channel had around 500,000 subscribers before being terminated for violating YouTube's policy on nudity and sexual content. Wilton told BuzzFeed News that he was arrested by police in Belgium (where he is based) in 2016. He was accused of statutory rape, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography and spent 10 months in jail. The now 29-year-old was released in 2017 and has not been formally charged, although he had said in 2018 that investigations were still ongoing.

YouTube has a dedicated reporting system for users to raise concerns about issues concerning Child Endangerment, Harassment and Cyberbullying as well as Privacy Issues.  


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