Per The Chicago Tribune, Cheer’s Jerry Harris was arrested and officially charged on Thursday in Chicago’s federal court with producing child pornography. This comes three days after the FBI began investigating the breakout Netflix star over complaints of sexual misconduct against minors. Harris, 21, was also sued in Texas by two teenagers—identified by USA Today as brothers Charlie and Sam—who accused him of “sexual harassment, exploitation, manipulation, intimidation and sexual abuse.”
According to The Chicago Tribune, Harris was charged with one count of production of child pornography after soliciting lewd videos and images of minors and soliciting sex from a 13-year-old victim during cheerleading competitions. Per the complaint, Harris contacted one boy on Snapchat in 2018 and repeatedly encouraged him to send sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself. The young teen says that he informed Harris of his age during their initial exchange. When the victim’s parent discovered numerous images on his phone, the teen told them that Harris had also solicited multiple sexual encounters across multiple competitions.
The complaint states that while the FBI searched Harris’ Illinois home, Harris admitted to agents that he had solicited lewd images and sex from the boy on multiple occasions from December 2018 to spring 2020. It also notes that Harris admitted to soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.” Included with the charges were a number of screenshots of Snapchat messages from the first victim, where he was allegedly asked to perform cheer moves while nude. The documents also cite another message that shows Harris apologizing for his behavior. “I’m sorry for what I’ve done in the past,” the message read. “I don’t think it’s a good idea we be friends on Snap.” Reports do not note when the message transpired.
If convicted, the charge carries a minimum of 15 years in prison. Though Harris’ representatives have not commented on the arrest, a spokesperson did previously reach out to Variety with a statement denying the lawsuit, which sparked the investigation: “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.”
Vulture reports that Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein, who represent Charlie and Sam, released their own statement after Harris’ arrest: “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. 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.”