CHICAGO — A west suburban musician pleaded guilty today to a federal child pornography charge and admitted enticing several underage girls, many as young as 14 years old, to produce sexually explicit videos of themselves.
AUSTIN JONES, 26, of Bloomingdale, pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years. U.S. District Judge John Z. Lee conditionally accepted the guilty plea and set sentencing for May 3, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.
The guilty plea 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 Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Bloomingdale Police Department provided assistance in the investigation. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Neff Welsh.
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” that they were his biggest fans, the plea agreement states. 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 the social media site Instagram, the plea agreement states.
In addition to the six victims whom he enticed to send 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.