'Cheer' star Jerry Harris arrested on child pornography charge
“Cheer” star Jerry Harris has been arrested on child pornography charges and faces up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.
The reality TV star was under investigation by the FBI earlier this week for allegedly soliciting sex from minors, and on Thursday, he was apprehended on a federal charge for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself.
He appeared in court on Thursday afternoon but did not enter a plea, and another hearing will be held on Monday to determine whether Jerry should stay in custody or be released on bail.
According to authorities in Illinois, the 21-year-old cheerleader is accused of having contacted the alleged victim via a social media app and "repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself."
The underage youth is said to have told Jerry during their first exchange online that he was just 13 years old, and the alleged victim's attorneys have praised investigators for taking action so quickly.
Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi told E! News: "We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have taken swift action to protect children by investigating, arresting and charging Jerry Harris.
"This was made possible because our clients' mother had the courage to report Harris to the FBI as well as the Fort Worth Police Department and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered."
The allegations come after a lawsuit whas filed earlier this week which alleged that Jerry - who was a roving reporter at this year's Academy Awards for 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' - had solicited child pornography images and videos from two twin boys on multiple occasions.
The complaint stated that, during a voluntary interview with law enforcement officers earlier this week, Jerry admitted to asking one of the alleged victims - who he knew was 13 - to take explicit photographs and videos through Snapchat and also confirmed he had engaged in ongoing conversations with the teenager via the platform from December 2018 to March 2020.
To engaging in ongoing Snapchat conversations with the individual beginning in Dec. 2018 and continuing through March 2020.
The criminal complaint stated: "There is probable cause to believe that Jerry Harris knowingly employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct."
However, a spokesperson for the Netflix star said that they "categorically dispute the claims" and "are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed".
Jerry is charged with one count of producing child pornography, which is punishable by a jail term of 15-30 years in prison.