CHICAGO — A musician from a west suburb of Chicago was sentenced today to ten years in federal prison for enticing several underage girls, some as young as 14 years old, to produce sexually explicit videos of themselves.
AUSTIN JONES, 26, of Bloomingdale, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count of receipt of child pornography. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee imposed the sentence after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.
The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Chicago. The Illinois Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bloomingdale Police Department provided valuable assistance in the investigation.
“Production and receipt of child pornography are extraordinarily serious offenses that threaten the safety of our children and communities,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “Jones’s actions took something from his victims and their families that they will never be able to get back.”
“Today’s sentencing of Austin Jones represents a major step towards justice for the young victims whom he manipulated and exploited,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Gibbons. “HSI is committed to protecting the most vulnerable members of our society, our children, from predators who abuse their trust.”
Jones is a musician with a significant following on social media, including Facebook and YouTube. His online music videos have been viewed millions of times.
Jones admitted in a plea agreement that in 2016 and 2017 he chatted with six underage girls on Facebook and enticed them to produce pornographic videos of themselves and send them to him. Jones told some of his victims to send him the videos as a way to “prove” they were his biggest fans. He also told some of his victims that the videos were part of a modeling opportunity, and that he could assist them in gaining followers on Instagram.
In addition to the six victims who sent videos, Jones further admitted in the plea agreement that he used Facebook on approximately 30 other occasions to attempt to persuade minor girls to send him sexually explicit videos and photographs.
If you believe you are a victim of sexual exploitation, you are encouraged to call the ICE Tip Line at 1-866-DHS2-ICE (1-866-347-2423) or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678. The hotlines are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.