‘Cheer’ star facing 15 years in prison if convicted of child porn charges

Jerry Harris
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Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris’ life took a turn when he became one of the stars of the documentary series “Cheer”. However, his life changed again when he was arrested on felony charges of alleged production of images that display child sexual abuse.

Harris was arrested and charged last month with one count of producing child pornography on the allegation of soliciting nude photos from minors. The now 21-year-old is currently being held in a Chicago jail. The arrest came three days after a pair of twin brothers filed a lawsuit against him. It’s explained that the plaintiffs are also competitive cheerleaders, and met Harris in 2018.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, the brothers allege Harris sent them explicit photos and even cornered one of them in a bathroom. Asking to perform oral sex on one of the boys. In addition, according to a statement, Harris repeatedly enticed the minor to produce explicit videos and photos of himself and send them to him. The victim according to authorities was 13 years old at the time.

During an interview with FBI agents, Harris admits asking one of the teenagers to send images and recordings of his private parts via Snapchat. He explained that he asked the teenager for this type of content between December 2018 until March of this year. In addition, confesses to have requested and received images of “at least 10 to 15 individuals who he knew to be minors” in the same application.

Wednesday, a judge heard arguments in regards to allowing Harris out on bond before going to trial. Prosecutors state it would be unsafe to allow him to go free before standing trial. Classifying Harris as a “brazen sexual predator” who could not control his urges. The prosecution states that since his arrest, they’ve spoken with “other victims, who all describe near-identical criminal conduct by Harris involving the sexual exploitation of minors.”

“Harris exhibits all the signs of a serial child predator and unless and until he receives significant mental health sex offender treatment, he will remain a danger to any child he encounters, either online or in person,” the document states.

Harris’ team says he doesn’t possess the mental development of an average 20-year-old. Yet, understands the severity of the charges he’s facing.

The judge has decided to delay his decision on if he’ll allow Harris out on bond. However, his defense tells the court that if released, he wouldn’t have access to a phone or the Internet. In addition, he’d have regular check-ins with a psychiatrist.

Harris is also being accused of exploiting the clout he’s earned from the Netflix series to target more minors. Allegedly offering at times more than $1,000, to perform sexual acts over FaceTime or Snapchat for his own sexual gratification.

Following news of the arrest, a Netflix spokesperson made a statement to PEOPLE last month. Saying, “Like everyone we are shocked by this news.” In addition, “Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”

If Harris is convicted of the charges, he’ll face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years behind bars.