“Cheer” star Jerry Harris, who is already facing a federal child pornography charge, has been indicted on new charges that allege he solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and convinced teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and videos of themselves. The new seven-count indictment that was made public on Friday was not unexpected. In the original complaint filed in September, not only did prosecutors allege that Harris admitted to FBI agents that he asked a teenage boy to send him lewd photographs of himself, but also that he requested child pornography from at least 10 to 15 others he knew to be minors on Snapchat. Harris, 21, has been held in a federal detention facility without bond since he was arrested on child pornography charges in September, and a judge has subsequently suggested that Harris would pose a public danger if released from custody. Harris’ attorneys have not yet spoken about the new charges, but an arraignment was scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Attorneys for two of Harris’ alleged victims, teenage brothers who have sued Harris in Texas, praised authorities on Friday and asked that they continue to “locate victims and take action.” “This was made possible because our clients’ mother initially had the courage to report Harris to the FBI and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered,” attorneys Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein said in a statement.
Harris, who was born in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale and raised in nearby Bolingbrook, was the breakout star of the Emmy-winning docuseries that follows a cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. “Cheer” was an instant success when it was released in January, and Harris drew fans for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk.” Earlier this year, he interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”