‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris indicted on child pornography, sex charges

Harris was originally charged with one count of production of child pornography, but the feds have hinted about more charges.

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Jerry Harris

Jerry Harris

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“Cheer” star Jerry Harris faces several new criminal charges in an indictment made public Friday afternoon.

Harris is charged with child pornography and sex crimes involving four victims in the new seven-count indictment that alleges conduct in Illinois, Florida and Texas. The indictment was first released publicly by attorneys for two of Harris’ alleged victims.

Though Harris was originally charged with one count of production of child pornography, the feds have hinted more charges could come. They said Harris sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy in a public bathroom, tried to persuade another minor to engage in oral sex at cheerleading events, solicited a third for sex and admitted having five to 10 victims in all. 

The new indictment does not appear to charge Harris with the sexual assault of the 15-year-old boy.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather McShain ordered Harris, 21, held behind bars in October, finding the evidence against him “overwhelmingly supports detention” and suggests he would be a danger to the community if released.

The judge pointed to Harris’ apparent inability to control his behavior as well as the exploitation of his position in the cheer community. She also rejected any “blurred line” between Harris’ age and that of his alleged victims.

“(Harris) was not a child,” McShain said. “He was an adult.”

Harris is being held in the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, records show.

The original criminal complaint filed against Harris in September traced the case to a discovery in February by the mother of 14-year-old twin boys who are competitive cheerleaders. The mother said she found a message purportedly from Harris on one boy’s cellphone. When she confronted the boy, he allegedly told her he’d been communicating with Harris on Snapchat for more than a year. He said Harris constantly asked for photos and videos from the boy, though the boy didn’t want to describe them to his mother, according to the feds.

The boy told authorities he’d first been contacted by Harris on Instagram in 2018. In that initial communication, Harris allegedly asked the boy’s age, and he told Harris he was 13.

The boy’s mother eventually learned of a “my eyes only” folder on Snapchat and demanded the boy show it to her, according to the complaint. That’s when she discovered a minute-long video of a male sitting on a bed masturbating, the feds say. Though the male’s face was not visible, the boy allegedly told her it was Harris.

The mother said she found 12 to 15 photos and videos of her son naked and stretching and doing cheer poses. When she asked her son why they were saved on his Snapchat account, the boy said Harris constantly asked for images of the boy, but the boy only wanted to do the poses once, so he saved them to resend to Harris in the future, according to the complaint.

The boy told authorities that on one occasion, after he posted a photo of himself doing a cheerleading maneuver called “the needle,” Harris contacted him on Snapchat and said, “Do it naked and take a video and show me.”

He also alleged that Harris twice tried to solicit him for sexual encounters during cheerleading events, once in February 2019 and once in May 2019. In texts provided by the boy’s mother, Harris allegedly wrote in May 2019, “I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good haha.” The boy replied “i cant sorry,” according to the complaint.

On Feb. 7, Harris allegedly sent text messages to the boy stating, “I don’t think we should be friends on snap” and “I’m sorry for what I’ve done in the past.”

The boy’s brother told authorities Harris was “touchy” and did “odd things,” and alleged that Harris once sent him a message asking, “Would you ever want to ****.”

Law enforcement also interviewed two additional minors, including one who called Harris “relentless” in his pursuit of naked photographs. When that minor told the other about what was happening, the other agreed to provide photographs of himself to be sent to Harris. The feds say Harris wound up paying $2,000 to $3,000 to the minor he had been pursuing until Harris sent the minor $500 in August to end the relationship and block Harris on Snapchat.

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