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Image credit: AP Photo/Danny Moloshok

Former YouTube star sentenced to 10 years in prison over child porn

Austin Jones admitted to soliciting explicit videos from underage fans.

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AP Photo/Danny Moloshok

A one-time YouTube star is facing the consequences of apparent abuse of his audience. A judge has sentenced acapella cover producer Austin Jones to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in February to receiving child porn. The internet personality admitted encouraging six girls, including one who was 14 years old, to produce sexually explicit videos to show they were his "biggest fan." He'd also acknowledged using Facebook on about 30 other instances to ask underage girls to send explicit photos and videos, and told some targets that these were part of a "modeling opportunity," according to the Department of Justice.

Jones had been arrested in 2017, but word of his behavior got out in 2015 when young women started reporting that he'd asked them to make videos. The testimonials had consequences, leading him to be pulled from the Warped Tour.

While exploitation of fans isn't a novel concept, Jones' behavior highlights the perils unique to the internet. The same technology that makes it easy to resonate with fans also makes it that much easier for the unscrupulous to take advantage of their supporters. The sentence might, however, serve as a warning to others who would try the same approach.

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