Leroy N. Soetoro
2020-10-14 18:26:33 UTC
Jerry Harris, star of Netflixs popular docuseries Cheer, has been
arrested and charged with production of child pornography, a rep for the
U.S. Attorneys office in Chicago, Illinois said Thursday.
He is scheduled to appear in federal court in Chicago this afternoon.
USA Today reported earlier this week that the FBI was investigating Harris
over allegations that he solicited sex and nude images from minors.
The FBI was conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in
Naperville, IL and Crystal Lake, IL this morning. There is no further
information at this time, a spokesperson for the bureau told TheWrap
We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are
alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager, Harriss rep said
Monday. We are confident that when the investigation is completed the
true facts will be revealed.
Reps for Harris and Navarro College, where Harris was a student during the
making of Cheer, did not immediately respond to requests for comment
A spokesperson for Netflix told TheWrap Thursday: Like everyone we are
shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we
respect the legal process.
The allegations against Harris come from a pair of twin brothers whose
attorneys filed a child sexual exploitation lawsuit on their behalf, which
accuses Harris of sending one of them sexually explicit messages and
requesting nude images over social media beginning when they were 13 years
old. The alleged abuse occurred while the boys were competing in
cheerleading competitions, which Harris attended as a coach, mentor,
trainer in association with USASF, Varsity Spirit, and Cheer Athletics.
The boys names have not been released. The boys are now 14; Harris would
have been between 19 and 20 at the time the events occurred between
December 2018 and March of this year.
We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have taken swift
action to protect children by investigating, arresting, and charging Jerry
Harris, their attorneys, Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein, said in a
This was made possible because our clients mother had the courage to
report Harris to the FBI as well as the Fort Worth Police Department and
provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse,
and exploitation that her sons had suffered. We urge the authorities to
undertake a thorough investigation of the United States All Star
Federation, Varsity Spirit, and Cheer Athletics to determine which of
their executives, employees, and representatives could have stopped
Harris abuse and failed to do so.
Varsity, a large private company heavily involved in the cheerleading
industry in every facet from clothing to competitions, was also involved
in spurring the investigation when the company notified Florida and Texas
police of inappropriate sexual conduct allegations against Harris in an
Aug. 1 letter obtained by USA Today. Reps for Varsity did not immediately
respond to comment requests Thursday on Harriss arrest.
Harris was launched to stardom after Cheer premiered on Netflix on Jan.
8. He has not posted on Instagram, where he has 1.2 million followers,
since Sept. 4. The cheerleader is known for his signature mat talk,
which involves shouting praises at his teammates to encourage them during
Since his star-making role on Cheer, Harris has enjoyed crossover
success in Hollywood. Hes done mat talk on stage with Oprah Winfrey,
interviewed celebrities on the Oscars red carpet for The Ellen DeGeneres
Show, and even appeared in an Instagram video with Joe Biden in support
of his presidential campaign.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.
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