Update: September 23, 2020
After being arrested last week by the FBI, it has been decided that Netflix’s “Cheer” star Jerry Harris, the “Cheer” fan favorite will remain in federal custody on child pornography charges.
According to reports, Harris has been charged in federal court with the production of child pornography. The charge stems from a criminal complaint filed against Harris alleging that he sought sexual acts and photos from boys as young as 13 at cheerleading competitions.
Harris was scheduled to appear before a court magistrate on Thursday to face the charge. The charge of the production of child pornography comes with a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison if he is convicted.
The charges are connected to Harris’ alleged advances on a 13-year-old cheerleader. Harris, who was 19 at the time, was soliciting photos and videos from the minor on Snapchat in 2018. The charge also states that Harris confronted the young cheerleader in the bathroom at a cheerleading event and asked for solicited oral sex.
The news continues to shock and surprise people on social media.
The news broke earlier this week that the FBI had opened an investigation into Harris because of a complaint filed claiming the sexual misconduct. The charge includes several photos, videos, and messages sent between Harris and minors demanding sexually explicit images from the minors.
Harris has been held at the MCC in downtown Chicago since his arrest. According to the Chicago Tribune, Harris admitted in an interview with FBI agents that he solicited lewd images and sex from one of the minors who reported him on several different occasions. The complaint states Harris also admitted to soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.”
Harris, 21, gained national attention earlier this year when he was introduced to Netflix viewers in a six-part docuseries called “Cheer.”
The series followed the nationally ranked Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team as they prepared for a Daytona Beach competition. Fans of the show became captivated by Harris a cheerleader whose positivity and energy seemed utterly contagious. Soon after his appearance on the show, Harris rocketed to stardom and made appearances on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” nabbed interviews with Variety magazine, and even made a guest appearance on the cheerleading themed song “Mas(k)ot” by Todrick Hall.
A recent revelation however is revealing that Harris’ standing as a lovable household name is no longer.
Recently, fans of Harris learned of an FBI investigation into him is underway and regards allegations that the celebrity cheerleader solicited sexually explicit photos as well as sex from minors.
In a statement to USA Today, Siobhan Johnson, a FBI special agent and public affairs officer said that “The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area.”
The criminal investigation stems from allegations brought forward by 14-year-old twin brothers. The two minors claim that Harris made them endure a pattern of harassment, both online and at cheer competitions. The two claim the harassment started when they were 13 and Harris was 19 and continued for over a year.
At the start of August, Varsity Brands, a private company that governs the cheerleading industry, reported to police in Florida and Texas that its Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris. Brillhart reported the information to police officials as required by law.
“Harris is accused of asking one of the brothers to have sex with him in 2019 at two Varsity cheerleading competitions,” reports USA Today.
“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future,” Brillhart wrote.
Brillhart described Harris as a former employee and emphasized that he was no longer actively working for Varsity at the time of when the alleged incidents took place.
The current lawsuit against Harris claims that the Netflix star solicited explicit photos from the twin brothers and also asked one of the twins for oral sex.
Last week, Harris denied the accusations.
“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” a spokesperson for Harris said in a statement to Variety last week. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”
The twin brothers are seeking $1 million in damages. If convicted Harris could face a minimum of 15 years in prison.
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