Jerry Harris of Netflix's 'Cheer' arrested, faces child porn production charge

John Manly, the lawyer of the victims accusing Jerry Harris of sexual abuse, says the Netflix star “belongs in prison.”

NOTE: This article contains descriptions that some may find disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.

Jerry Harris

Jerry Harris attends the Build Series to discuss 'Cheer' on January 29, 2020 in New York City.

Jim Spellman/Getty Images

Jeremiah Harris, better known as “Jerry” — one of the students followed in Netflix docuseries Cheer — has been arrested and charged with production of child pornography, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Fitzpatrick.

He was charged in a federal Chicago court on Thursday.

Read more:
Jim Carrey to play Joe Biden on ‘Saturday Night Live’

The court said Harris, 21, “repeatedly enticed” a 13-year-old boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself and send them to him.

“The minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old,” according to a court release.

As of this writing, Harris has not publicly commented on his arrest or charge. Netflix also has no comment about the charge.

Earlier this week, he was accused of child sexual exploitation and abuse in a lawsuit filed by a lawyer representing two alleged 14-year-old victims (who were 13 at the time of the alleged abuse). Harris sent them sexually explicit photos and videos of himself, and at one point cornered a boy in a bathroom at a cheer competition and begged for oral sex, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit says the boy turned him down and left the bathroom.

The lawsuit said that when the boys met Harris at a cheer competition in 2018, he was already well-known in cheerleading circles.

USA Today said Monday that multiple sources told the newspaper that the FBI was investigating accusations that Harris solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.

Read more:
Carole Baskin’s missing husband’s family airs help ad during her ‘Dancing With the Stars’ debut

In interviews with USA Today at their Texas home, the boys described a pattern of harassment both online and at cheer competitions, which began when they were 13 and Harris was 19. They said it continued for more than a year.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Texas against Harris and three cheer organizations says the boys’ mother reported Harris to the FBI last month.

The boys’ mother told USA Today that both boys have spoken to the FBI. The newspaper reported that law enforcement agents on Monday were at Harris’ home in Naperville, Illinois.

A spokesperson for Harris told CNN earlier this week: “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.”

Read more:
Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ star Morgan Simianer says her life has ‘changed a lot’

Production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.

Harris was a breakout star of Cheer, which followed the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as they sought a national title.

Cheer was an instant success when it was released in January, and Harris drew fans for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk.” Earlier this year, he interviewed celebrities on the Oscars red carpet for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Cheer recently won two Emmy Awards.

Harris is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.

With files from The Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

You May Also Like

Top Stories