‘Cheer’s Jerry Harris Charged With Producing Child Pornography
One of the most popular new reality TV stars in years has been arrested by the FBI, and charged with “allegedly enticing [a] underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos.” Jerry Harris, who became one of the breakout characters on Netflix’s popular docuseries Cheer about the world of competitive cheerleading, is now in custody and scheduled to make an appearance in court today in Chicago.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Harris, 21, “contacted the underage boy on a social media application and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself and send them to Harris.” The alleged victim was 13 years old. If Harris is convicted, a federal charge of child pornography comes with a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Harris has also been sued by two 14-year-old teenagers from Texas who claim he “solicited sex, sent them sexually explicit messages via text and social media, and asked them to send nude photos of themselves.” More on that suit from The New York Times (which contains even more graphic descriptions of the allegations):
According to the suit, [the plaintiffs] were ‘star struck’ by Mr. Harris, who was nationally known as a cheer personality and coach. He asked for their phone numbers and Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat handles, and, the boys say in the lawsuit, the interactions became sexual in nature ‘almost immediately.’ They also said that Mr. Harris asked that they send him ‘booty pics.’
Harris looked poised to move beyond Cheer to an ongoing career in the public eye. He became so popular after the series debuted on Netflix that he got a gig doing red carpet interviews at the Oscars for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where many of the nominees were more excited to see him than vice versa.
Netflix has not commented on the news yet, but a spokesman for Harris told People Magazine “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed, the true facts will be revealed.”
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