Cheer star Jerry Harris arrested on child porn charges

Cheer Child Pornography
Cheer Child Pornography - (Copyright AP)
21:26pm, Thu 17 Sep 2020
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Jerry Harris, the star of the Netflix documentary series Cheer, has been arrested on charges concerning the production of child pornography.

The move comes three days after twin boys filed a lawsuit alleging he sent them sexually explicit photos of himself and cornered one of them in a bathroom and asked for an intimate sex act.

According to the complaint, Harris admitted during an interview after FBI agents raided his home on Monday that he had asked one of the teenagers to send him photographs and videos on Snapchat.

He also admitted that he repeatedly asked the teenager, identified only as Minor 1, between December 2018 and March of this year for such photographs and videos.

Further, according to the complaint, Harris admitted to requesting and receiving on Snapchat child pornography from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors”.

FBI agents were photographed on Monday coming out a home in the Chicago suburb of Naperville that USA Today, which first reported the suit, reported was Harris’ home.

The boy’s mother told the newspaper that both of her sons had spoken to the FBI, and the lawsuit alleges that she also reported the allegations to Fort Worth police, the FBI and others.

The complaint contends that the mother contacted authorities after she saw messages from Harris on one of her son’s phones.

Harris, 21, was the breakout star of the show that followed the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as it sought a national title.

In interviews with USA Today at their Texas home, the boys — who are now 14 years old — 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 over a year.

Besides accusing Harris of sexual misconduct, the lawsuit alleges that cheer organisations failed to protect the boys.

The organisations named in the lawsuit are US All Star Federation, which governs competitive cheerleading; Varsity Spirit, which puts on competitions; and the Cheer Athletics, a chain of gyms.

A Varsity official in letters to police in Florida and Texas said the organisation had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris, according to reports.

Cheer Athletics owner Angela Rogers told a newspaper that Harris has not been affiliated with the gym since March 1. Ms Rogers said she learned of the allegations against him in mid-May and reported them to police.

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 red carpet at the Academy Awards for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

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