Entertainment

Popular YouTube agent sentenced to jail for sexual abuse of a minor

by Calum Patterson

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Benjamin Lemaire, founder and president of SocialTube, a company specializing in the management of small YouTubers, has been found guilty of sexual abuse of a minor.

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Less than two months after French YouTuber Squeezie accused other YouTubers of questionable behavior with their underage subscribers, this is a new case of sexual abuse of minors shaking the world of YouTube in France.

Benjamin Lemaire is not as well known as those YouTubers accused during the previous scandal, but his professional activities involve working with movie stars, musicians and social networks. Earning him trust within the community, used to seduce and indulge in sexual practices with boys under 15 years old.

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In 2016, he was the subject of several accusations that were based on screenshots of private messages on Twitter. It was suggested that he used his company, SocialTube, to approach young aspiring YouTubers to become their agent, but would take advantage of their trust.

These advances would escalate to sexual conduct, whether via video or in person. At the time, BuzzFeed published a lengthy investigation about Lemaire that briefly summarized these cases and his personality.

At the time, he was remanded in custody after a complaint from a teenager, who was 13 years old at the time and with whom Lemaire had sex with multiple times.

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On Monday, September 24, he was handed down a sentence of 20 months for sexual abuse of a minor under 15 years old, corruption of this minor and nine others, as well as possession and distribution of child pornography.

It is possible, however, that despite this conviction, Lemaire may not ultimately go to jail. As Numerama explains, "having already accumulated almost a year of pre-trial detention, the remaining eight months can be arranged as decided by the judge of enforcement of sentences." In the meantime, both parties have 10 days from 24 September to appeal this decision.