A federal judge ordered YouTube star Austin Jones released from custody Thursday and barred him from using the internet and social media while he awaits trial on child pornography charges.
Jones, who was dressed in orange jail garb, looked stone-faced during the brief hearing in which U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Mason also ordered him locked down at his home 24 hours a day. The judge ordered Jones, of Bloomingdale, released on $100,000 bond, half of which has been secured with cash.
The singer’s mother, who attended the hearing, will act as his third-party custodian. Though she exchanged few glances with her son as the hearing began — and the judge even had to tell Jones to stand closer to his mother so he could be heard by a microphone — the two appeared to exchange words when the hearing ended.
Jones’ lawyer later declined to comment as he left the courtroom.
The feds hit Jones, 24, with two counts of production of child pornography earlier this week. The charges could land him in prison for at least 15 years. The singer was arrested Monday at O’Hare Airport. His Twitter account indicates he had been on an international tour.
A criminal complaint accuses Jones of taking full advantage of his fame to pressure young girls to expose themselves.
One girl made videos through Facebook for Jones on May 4. She called it an “audition.” Though she told him she “might pass out” and was tired from doing what he asked, Jones allegedly pressed her to “work really hard.” During their Facebook exchange, she allegedly acknowledged Jones was 24. And at his request, she repeatedly said in the video she was “only 14,” the feds say.
That victim sent Jones 15 videos, including 10 videos of her exposing herself, according to the complaint. Jones allegedly told her what to wear, how to dance and how to adjust the camera “so I can see you from head to toe.”
In a chat in August with another victim, Jones allegedly acknowledged the girl was 14 and that he was 23 at the time. He allegedly asked her to “prove” she was his biggest fan and that, if she was “lucky,” she would get to perform a sex act on him.
The feds said the girl sent him 25 videos, including eight of her exposing her genitals.
After his arrest, Jones admitted requesting and receiving videos from the victims, and he admitted it was for sexual pleasure, according to the complaint.