Jerry Harris, a former cheerleader at Navarro College who came to prominence in the Netflix series Cheer, is under investigation by the FBI to solicit sex and nudes from minors. However, his representative denies the claims. A statement released says that Harris disputes any claims against him.
"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, per Entertainment Tonight. This statement follows the FBI conducting a court-authorized search of Harris' home in Naperville, Illinois — although FBI Special Agent and Public Affairs Officer Siobhan Johnson did not confirm the investigation.
While Harris has not been criminally charged, the mother of the alleged victims — two twin boys in Texas — is filing a lawsuit against Harris, as well as 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 boys were 13 years old.
According to USA Today, Varsity reportedly learned of the allegations against Harris and notified the authorities on Aug. 1. The FBI then conducted interviews with the alleged victims, Charlie and Sam, as well as their mother Kristen in August at their home. The authorities also conducted a second interview with Charlie on Sept. 11. The agency pulled data from their cell phones and requested documentation from competitions where they interacted with Harris.
According to the report, both brothers said that they received requests for nude photos, but Harris was allegedly more aggressive with Charlie. The minor said that he declined at first, but Harris allegedly threatened to unfriend or block him on social media if he did not comply. Charlie said that he eventually did what Harris asked.
One of the attorneys for the boys, John Manly, released a statement disputing Varsity's previous comments about alerting the authorities. He said that "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. 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. She also took action to report Harris to law enforcement, including reporting Harris to Fort Worth Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation."