Pop singer Austin Jones was arrested on two charges of producing child pornography, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice told TheWrap on Tuesday.
Jones, who is based in Bloomingdale, Illinois, is accused of urging underage female fans to send him sexually explicit videos.
The singer, who is known for performing versions of other artists’ material as well as his own original songs, faces a minimum of 15 years on each count if convicted.
The 24-year-old musician, whose YouTube channel boasts more than half a million subscribers, allegedly spoke with two underage girls online, enticing them to send him explicit videos.
In one instance, the criminal complaint against the singer alleges, Jones told a female fan during a 2016 Facebook chat that she was “lucky” that he was paying attention to her, saying she had to “prove” that she was his biggest fan by producing sexually explicit videos and sending them to him.
Jones is being held pending a detention hearing Wednesday. Prosecutors are expected to brand the singer as a flight risk, asking that any bond that’s set should be secured with property.
Two years ago, Jones was criticized over accusations that he asked young fans to send him videos of themselves “twerking,” a sexually suggestive style of dance.
Jones later apologized in a video, insisting that no sexual contact had occurred between him and the fans.
“I shouldn’t have asked you do do that … it was foolish of me,” Jones said. “But there were never any nudes, never any physical contact. It never happened. So I just have to get that out there. Nothing ever went further.”