UPDATED: 3:46 PM: Jerry Harris, a star of Netflix’s 2020 docuseries Cheer, is facing additional federal charges of child sexual exploitation. The seven new counts involve five minors in Texas, Florida and Illinois.
According to an indictment obtained by USA Today and two Chicago newspapers, prosecutors now also allege that Harris, 21, received and attempting to receive child pornography. He also faces four new counts of using, persuading, inducing and enticing a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and … transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct.”
He also faces a count of using the internet to “”persuade, induce and entice” one of the minors to engage in sexual activity.
Harris was arrested by the FBI on September 17 and remains jailed. Read details of the case and his earlier earlier charges below.
PREVIOUSLY, September 17: Jerry Harris, of Netflix’s Cheer notoriety, has been arrested on a child pornography charge on Thursday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Illinois announced Harris’ arrest today, noting that Harris repeatedly enticed a minor to share sexually explicit videos and photos. Harris, 21, is set to appear in court on Thursday. He was arrested with one count of producing child pornography. If found guilty, Harris could face at least 15 years of jail time.
“There is probable cause to believe that Jerry HARRIS knowingly employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced a minor, namely Minor 1, to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, which visual depiction defendant knew and had reason to know would be transported and transmitted using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce, and which visual depiction was transported and transmitted using any means and facility of interstate and foreign commerce,” stated the detailed criminal complaint filed in federal court today (READ IT HERE).
“Like everyone we are shocked by this news,” a Netflix spokesperson told Deadline on Thursday. “Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process,” the streamer added.
Harris’ federal arrest comes after the family of underage Texas twins filed a lawsuit against him just days ago. The lawsuit claims that the Cheer subject befriended the boys in 2018 when they were 13 years old and requested them to send explicit photos. The lawsuit, in which the boys seek $1 million in damages, also stated that Harris solicited one of the brothers for oral sex.
The FBI launched an investigation after the boys’ mother filed a report in August. The victims’ mother also filed complaints of Harris’ misconduct to the Fort Worth Police Department and a number of cheer organizations including U.S. All Star Federation and Cheer Athletics Inc.
Harris was prominently featured in the Cheer documentary series that debuted on the streamer on January 8 this year. Cheer is up for six Primetime Emmy awards, including Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program.
Dominic Patten and Erik Pedersen contributed to this report