‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ To Rape Accusations Made By A 15-Year-Old Boy
Update: December 21, 2020
After being arrested in September 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.
On Monday, Harris, pled not guilty to multiple felony charges.
Harris, who is accused of soliciting sex from minors in addition to other charges, entered a not guilty plea to seven charges in total. The charges include four counts of sexual exploitation of children.
Each of the sexual exploitation charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
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.
An Oct. 13 court filing states that the “Cheer” star exploited and violated” at least 10 boys.
The new allegations have been made in a government motion for pretrial detention against Harris.
Prosecutors have described Harris as a “brazen sexual predator” who could not control his urges and stated that since his arrest “multiple other victims” have described “near identical criminal conduct by Harris involving the sexual exploitation of minors.”
“Harris must not be allowed to harm another child,” the prosecutors wrote in a government motion for pretrial detention against Harris.
“As Harris’ fame grew through his acting career, Harris appears to have added to his predatory arsenal by using money to exploit his minor victims,” the federal prosecutors alleged. “Harris exhibits all the signs of a serial child predator and unless and until he receives significant mental health sex offender treatment, he will remain a danger to any child he encounters, either online or in person.”
The news continues to shock and surprise people on social media.
The news broke in September that the FBI had opened an investigation into Harris because of a complaint filed claiming 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.
Late in September, 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. “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.