Netflix ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris arrested on child porn charge days after $1m sexual misconduct suit


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One of the stars of the Netflix docuseries “Cheer” has been arrested on a charge of production of child pornography just days after being hit with a $1 million lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct.

Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris was arrested Thursday on the federal charges and is accused of “enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself,” according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

The 21-year-old celebrity cheerleader was under FBI investigation for allegedly soliciting sex from minors. Federal agents executed a search warrant at Harris’ Naperville, Illinois home on Monday and he reportedly admitted that he had solicited sex and lewd photos from the 13-year-old minor, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Harris allegedly admitted to receiving pornographic photos from “at least between 10-15 other individuals he knew were minors,” according to a complaint filed by the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago.

A lawsuit against Harris was filed in Texas this week by twin brothers who accused the star of “sexual harassment, exploitation, manipulation, intimidation and sexual abuse.”

“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 after the lawsuit was filed. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”

The teen siblings alleged in the suit that the sexual misconduct began when they were about 13 and 14 years old and Harris was 19, and continued for about a year. Harris was accused of using his “popularity and position of fame with young male cheer athletes.”

Harris, who made a video appearance with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in June to encourage voting, is scheduled to appear before the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Thursday afternoon.

If convicted on the one count of production of child pornography, he would face 15 to 30 years in prison. The investigation is ongoing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Thursday.

Chicago-Tribune reported:

According to the charges, Harris contacted one male victim on Snapchat in 2018 and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself and send them to Harris. The minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old, the complaint stated.

When the victim’s parent discovered some of the images on the boy’s cell phone and confronted him, he said that in Harris had also solicited oral sex from him in a bathroom at a cheerleading event they both attended, according to the charges. Harris also sought a second in-person sexual encounter at a different competition, according to the complaint.

 

Several screenshots from the phone of one of the victims also accompanied the charges, including a message from Harris apologizing.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done in the past,” the message reportedly read. “I don’t think it’s a good idea we be friends on Snap.”

The fall from grace shocked many fans of “Cheer,” the Netflix series, which recently won two Emmy Awards. It debuted in January and follows the competitive cheerleading squad at Navarro College in Texas.

Harris got the attention of liberal Hollywood and was seen as a correspondent for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on the Oscars red carpet in February. He made an appearance in a sketch on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and with Oprah Winfrey in Dallas back in February when she handed him a microphone on stage.

The arrest is the latest controversy that involves a Netflix product as the media provider and production company came under heavy fire for “Cuties.” While Netflix defended the “award-winning film” as a “social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” many others slammed the company for sexualizing young girls.

Frieda Powers

Senior Staff Writer
[email protected]

Originally from New York, Powers graduated from New York University and eventually made her way to sunny South Florida where she has been writing for the BizPacReview team since 2015.

Frieda Powers

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