Cheer star Jerry Harris pleaded not guilty Thursday to seven felony charges after being accused of soliciting sex from minors, reports Us Weekly. The Netflix reality series star, 21, is facing charges of four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of enticement, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of travel with the intent to engage in an illicit sexual contact with a minor.
Each of the sexual exploitation of children charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years if convicted, while the enticement charge carries a minimum of 10 years, and the receipt of child pornography charge carries a minimum of five years. Harris was arrested in September after USA Today first reported he was under investigation by the FBI in connection to claims he had solicited sex and explicit photos from minors. The publication also reported allegations from two brothers that Harris harassed them sexually online and in person at cheer competitions when they were 13 years old and he was 19.
In a public statement at the time, Harris' team denied all allegations against him. "We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," the statement read. "We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed."
Harris' Cheer castmates were shocked to learn of his arrest. Gabi Butler wrote on social media at the time that she was "shocked, dismayed and deeply saddened" by the allegations against Harris. "Ever since I heard the news I have gone back and forth between sobbing uncontrollably and trying to wrap my head around why something like this could happen," she continued. "To be clear, although I have been a close friend and teammate with Jerry, I was never aware of anything like that he has been accused of taking place. I believe the protection of children is more important than ever in today's world."
La'Darius Marshall also released a statement on Instagram. "I feel as though I have had the wind knocked out of me. How could this happen? As a victim of sexual abuse as a child, I know all too well the pain of experiencing this type of abuse and the difficulties it can create for life after such trauma," he wrote. "My heart goes out to all who may be affected by this behavior from adults."