CHICAGO — Federal authorities have arrested a west suburban musician for allegedly enticing underage girls to produce sexually explicit videos of themselves.
AUSTIN JONES, 24, of Bloomingdale, chatted with two underage girls on Facebook and enticed them to produce pornographic videos of themselves and send them to him, according to a criminal complaint and affidavit filed in federal court in Chicago. Jones is a musician with a significant following on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, the complaint states. His music videos have been viewed millions of times on the Internet, including on YouTube, the complaint states.
The complaint charges Jones with two counts of producing child pornography. Jones was arrested on Monday at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. He made his initial court appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Mason. Judge Mason ordered Jones to remain in federal custody until a detention hearing on June 14, 2017, at 2:30 p.m.
The complaint was announced by Joel R. Levin, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and James M. Gibbons, special agent-in-charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago. The Illinois Attorney General’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bloomingdale Police Department participated in the investigation.
According to the complaint, Jones chatted with one victim in August 2016, and with the other victim last month. The victim from last August stated in a Facebook chat with Jones that she was his biggest fan, the complaint states. Jones repeatedly told her that she was “lucky” to have his attention, and that she needed to “prove” that she was his biggest fan by producing the sexually explicit videos and sending them to him, the complaint states.
The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Each count of production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
HSI led the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh.
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.