Jerry from Cheer arrested on child pornography charges
18 September 2020, 11:02 | Updated: 18 September 2020, 11:09
If convicted, Jerry Harris faces up to 30 years in prison.
The breakout star from Netflix documentary Cheer, Jerry Harris, was arrested Thursday on suspicion of producing child pornography, the US Attorney's Office confirmed.
Harris, who is 21, allegedly solicited sexually explicit videos and photos from a 13-year-old boy and his twin brother, between December 2018 to March 2020. According to court records, Harris admitted to the charges in a police interview.
At a court hearing in Chicago, Harris did not enter a plea. A judge said that a hearing would be held on Monday to determine if he will stay in custody or be released on bail (via BBC News).
The charge follows a separate lawsuit which was filed earlier this week, in which Mr Harris was accused of child sexual exploitation and abuse of two male victims, both 17-years-old.
In court documents which can be read online, including screen shots of a conversation between Harris and the 13-year-old boy on Snapchat, Harris asks how old the boy is. After the boy said he was 13, he asked him for pictures of his face “and booty."
As reported by BuzzFeed News, according to the authorities, the boy sent Harris more than a dozen explicit pictures between December 2018 and March 2020. Harris had also allegedly sent the boy pictures and videos of himself masturbating, beginning when the victim was 13 years old.
The court documents also included text messages Harris sent the boy before a cheerleading competition, in which he said he had "found a place for us to do stuff." The boy replied, "I cant sorry."
The victim, his twin brother and his mother, have given an interview to USA Today talking about the message exchange. The boy says in the beginning of the video: “What everyone is seeing of Jerry Harris from the outside view, from social media, is a completely different person from when you actually know him.”
“What everyone is seeing of Jerry Harris, from the outside view, from social media, is a completely different person from when you actually know him,” Charlie, one of the boys who has accused Harris of abuse, said: https://t.co/suElp0nAQQ pic.twitter.com/NyH0n81x04— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 15, 2020
Netflix in a statement said: "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process."
According to ABC News, Harris previously denied the allegations against him regarding the lawsuit involving the two 17-year-old minors.
"We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," the spokesperson said at the time.
If convicted on the federal child pornography charge, Mr Harris faces up to 30 years in prison.