Jerry Harris of ‘Cheer’ Arrested on Child Pornography Charge

Jerry Harris, a fan favourite on the Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary collection “Cheer,” was arrested and charged with manufacturing of baby pornography in a federal court docket in Chicago on Thursday.

Prosecutors stated Mr. Harris repeatedly enticed a 13-year-old boy to provide sexually specific movies and photographs of himself and ship them to Mr. Harris.

In an interview with legislation enforcement officers on Monday, the criticism says, Mr. Harris, 21, admitted to asking for and receiving baby pornography from no less than 10 to 15 people he knew have been minors. He additionally admitted to having intercourse with a 15-year-old at a cheerleading occasion in 2019.

A consultant for Mr. Harris didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Mr. Harris was sued in Texas on Monday by two of the boys, twin brothers who say he despatched and requested sexually specific messages by way of textual content and social media and requested one of the them for intercourse at a cheerleading competitors. The boys will not be named within the lawsuit or the criticism as a result of they’re minors.

According to the prison criticism, one of the boys who filed the lawsuit despatched Mr. Harris greater than a dozen images and movies of his genitals at Mr. Harris’s request, between December 2018 and March 2020. The boy stated within the criticism that he instructed Mr. Harris he was 13 years outdated of their first on-line encounter, and that Mr. Harris despatched photographs of his personal genitals, in addition to movies of himself masturbating.

The identical boy stated Mr. Harris requested him for oral intercourse in a rest room at a cheerleading competitors they each attended.

Officials stated that within the Monday interview, Mr. Harris admitted to asking the boy for specific photographs, sending photographs of himself and requesting oral intercourse, and stated he knew the boy was 13. He stated he despatched a textual content message to the second boy from the lawsuit asking if he was interested by participating in sexual acts.

The boys’ mom found the messages in February, the criticism says, together with specific photographs and a video that the boy instructed her was Mr. Harris. She stated she instructed her son to delete the photographs and movies, which he did.

The second boy who filed the go well with in opposition to Mr. Harris stated that Mr. Harris was “touchy” and did “odd things” to him and his brother, and that Mr. Harris had requested nude photographs from him by way of Snapchat. The second boy stated he refused all of Mr. Harris’s requests, in addition to a request for an in-person sexual encounter.

Law enforcement officers interviewed two 17-year-olds on Tuesday who had contacted them concerning Mr. Harris. One of the youngsters stated he met Mr. Harris at a celebration this summer season, at which he instructed Mr. Harris he was 17. He stated Mr. Harris later messaged him on Snapchat and requested for photographs, the criticism stated. He stated he didn’t ship any then, however weeks later, he did ship Mr. Harris photographs in alternate for cash, which was despatched by an digital cost utility.

The first teenager then instructed the opposite teenager about Mr. Harris’s request and the second teenager took photographs of himself, which he instructed the primary boy he may ship to Mr. Harris.

Mr. Harris later paid one teenager $500 for a video name through which uncovered himself, the criticism stated. The boy stated Mr. Harris continued to message him all through the summer season and paid him $2,000 to $three,000 earlier than sending him $500 on Aug. 22 to finish the connection and block him on Snapchat.

USA Today had reported on Monday that the F.B.I. was investigating allegations that Mr. Harris asked for sex and nude photos from the brothers who filed the lawsuit, and who are now 14, whom he met at a cheerleading competition.

The lawsuit said that Mr. Harris “violated his role as a mentor, trainer, coach, sexually violated the Plaintiffs, and used his position of authority and power over the Plaintiffs.” Mr. Harris befriended the boys when he was 19.

“We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the F.B.I. have taken swift action to protect children by investigating, arresting and charging Jerry Harris,” Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein, lawyers for the boys, said in a statement on Thursday.

Three organizations were also named as defendants in the lawsuit in Texas — United States All Star Federation, Varsity Spirit and Cheer Athletics. The lawyers for the boys said they hoped the authorities would investigate the organizations “to determine which of their executives, employees and representatives could have stopped Harris’s abuse and failed to do so.”

Cheer Athletics said this week that Mr. Harris was strictly an athlete participant, and that his affiliation with it ended at the National Cheerleaders Association Nationals competition on March 1, 2020.

The U.S. All Star Federation said it could not comment because of the ongoing litigation. Varsity Spirit did not reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Harris was scheduled to appear in federal court in Chicago Thursday afternoon. Production of child pornography carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.

A hearing will occur on Monday morning, Christopher Parente, a prosecutor in the case, said. He said they will seek to keep Mr. Harris detained in Chicago until then.

Robert Chiarito contributed reporting.

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