Jerry Harris, star of the Netflix docuseries “Cheer,” was arrested Thursday and charged in federal court docket in Chicago with soliciting pornographic movies and pictures of minors and soliciting intercourse from a 13-year-old sufferer at cheerleading competitions.
Harris, 21, of Naperville, was charged in a prison grievance with one depend of manufacturing of kid pornography, which carries a minimal of 15 years in jail upon conviction.
Harris made his preliminary court docket look Thursday afternoon on the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, strolling into the courtroom carrying a disposable face masks, crimson shirt and grey pants. He then stood subsequent to his lawyer together with his arms behind his again. Federal brokers stood on the first bench.
Prosecutors advised U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide David Weisman they need Harris held with out bond pending trial as a result of he’s a hazard to the neighborhood and is accused of crimes of violence in opposition to youngsters.
Harris’ lawyer stated he intends to argue for his launch, partly as a result of Harris has bronchial asthma and makes use of an inhaler and is at elevated threat of contracting COVID-19 behind bars.
After the five-minute listening to was over, Harris stored his eyes to the bottom as he was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom.
In response to the costs, Harris contacted one male sufferer on Snapchat in 2018 and repeatedly enticed him to supply sexually express movies and images of himself and ship them to Harris. The minor sufferer knowledgeable Harris throughout their preliminary on-line encounter that he was 13 years outdated, the grievance acknowledged.
When the sufferer’s mother or father found among the pictures on the boy’s cellphone and confronted him, he stated that Harris had additionally solicited oral intercourse from him in a rest room at a cheerleading occasion they each attended, in keeping with the costs. Harris additionally sought a second in-person sexual encounter at a unique competitors, in keeping with the grievance.
After the FBI raided Harris’ Naperville house on Monday, he admitted to brokers throughout an interview that he had solicited lewd pictures and intercourse from the boy on quite a few events, in keeping with the grievance.
The grievance acknowledged Harris additionally admitted to soliciting and receiving baby pornography on Snapchat from “a minimum of between 10 to fifteen different people he knew have been minors.”
The fees embrace quite a few screenshots from the cellphone of the primary sufferer — recognized solely as Minor 1 — together with nude pictures purportedly demanded by Harris of the boy doing a cheerleading transfer referred to as “the Needle.” One other screenshot contained a message allegedly despatched by Harris wherein he apologized for his habits.
“I’m sorry for what I’ve completed up to now,” the message learn. “I don’t suppose it’s a good suggestion we be buddies on Snap.”
The prison expenses seem like associated to a lawsuit filed in Texas this week by two youngsters who accused him of “sexual harassment, exploitation, manipulation, intimidation and sexual abuse.”
A spokesperson for Harris in a press release advised ABC Information and Selection the lawsuit was with out advantage.
“We categorically dispute the claims made in opposition to Jerry Harris, that are alleged to have occurred when he was an adolescent,” the assertion learn. “We’re assured that when the investigation is accomplished the true info shall be revealed.”
A lawyer for Harris couldn’t instantly be reached for remark Thursday.
USA Right now was the primary to report on the prison investigation after federal brokers have been seen Monday getting into and leaving Harris’ house in a gated neighborhood within the 2600 block of Evercrest Courtroom in Naperville.
The U.S. lawyer’s workplace stated Thursday its investigation is ongoing, and every other potential victims have been inspired to contact the FBI Chicago area workplace.
Born in Hinsdale and raised in Bolingbrook, Harris rose to fame on “Cheer,” which premiered in January. The docuseries follows the aggressive cheerleading squad at Navarro School in Texas.
Harris graduated in 2017 from Waubonsie Valley Excessive College in Aurora, the place he was a standout scholar, and studied at Navarro.
Viewers and celebrities took observe of the way in which he enthusiastically motivated his fellow cheerleaders whereas they carried out stunts, also called “mat speaking.” He labored the Oscars crimson carpet in February as a correspondent for Ellen DeGeneres’ discuss present. He shared a stage with Oprah Winfrey, appeared in a sketch on “The Late Present with Stephen Colbert” and not too long ago acquired a shock digital go to from actress Gabrielle Union, who showered him with reward.
Since “Cheer” premiered, Harris has amassed greater than 1.2 million Instagram followers and partnered with varied manufacturers. A consultant for the Schmidt’s deodorant firm stated Thursday that its partnership with Harris has ended. “Schmidt’s is firmly dedicated to making sure a protected setting for everybody. Whereas we partnered with Jerry from Could by July of 2020, we’re now not working with him.”
It is a creating story. Verify again for particulars.