Jerry Harris, who stars on the Netflix series Cheer, has been arrested on child pornography charges, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was charged in federal court in Chicago on Thursday. The arrest comes three days after the FBI raided his home in Naperville, Illinois following an allegation he solicited sex and explicit photos from twin brothers who were minors.
The investigation was based on allegations reported to Varsity Spirit, a private company that "dominates the cheerleading industry," on Aug. 1. "As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future," wrote Varsity’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart. Harris hasn't publicly commented on the allegations, but his representative denies the claims.
"We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed, the true facts will be revealed," the statement reads. Along with being arrested, the mother of the alleged victims is filing a lawsuit against Harris and the United States All Star Federation (USASF), Varsity Spirit, LLC, and Cheer Athletics. The lawsuit alleges sexual exploitation and abuse by Harris that began when the twin boys were 13.
After Varsity learned of the allegations against Harris and notified the authorities, the FBI interviewed the alleged victims, Charlie and Sam, as well as their mother, Kristen. in August. A second interview was conducted with Charlie on Sept. 11. According to the report, both brothers told authorities they received a request for nude photos, but Harris was allegedly more aggressive with Charlie.
The twin boys' lawyers claim that Varsity has suggested the company is being more forthcoming about the charges than what happened in reality. "Varsity Spirit is trying to mislead the public by implying that they were the ones who took the initiative to report Harris to law enforcement," said John Manly, who is one of the attorneys for the boys. "In fact, our clients' mother took action to report Harris to USASF, Varsity Spirit and Cheer Athletics, including providing evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, and exploitation that her sons had suffered."
Harris, 21, appeared on all six episodes of the first season of Cheer which premiered in January. He was a member of the Navarro College Cheerleading team that shows them winning the national championship in 2019. He then transferred to the University of Louisville in the fall but returned to Navarro in January, according to Entertainment Tonight.