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Cheer's Jerry Harris Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

The Netflix star's representatives have denied the allegations

Lindsay MacDonald

Update 2:44 p.m. PT on 9/17: Netflix broke its silence regarding Harris' legal troubles on Thursday following the Cheer star's arrest. "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process," said a spokesperson.

Update 9/17/20: Cheer star Jerry Harris was formally charged with producing child pornography on Thursday, Sept. 15, per the U.S. Attorney's Office in Illinois. He was arrested in the morning and was scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court before a Chicago judge later in the day. This latest development comes after news of a lawsuit filed against Harris, and a subsequent FBI investigation into Harris' alleged inappropriate contact with a minor, broke earlier in the week.

According to authorities, Harris "repeatedly enticed" a 13-year-old boy to make sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and send them to Harris. The lawsuit, which was originally reported by USA Today, alleges Harris "violated his role as a mentor, trainer, coach, sexually violated the Plaintiffs, and used his position of authority and power over the Plaintiffs."

Production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years, with a maximum of 30 years, in prison.

Previously 9/15/20: Jerry Harris, star of Netflix's Emmy-nominated docuseries Cheer, is reportedly under FBI investigation for the soliciting sex with minors. USA Today reports FBI agents executed a search warrant on Monday at a house in Naperville, Illinois, as a part of that investigation.

Allegations were reportedly made to Florida police against Harris by Varsity, a private company that controls all major facets of the cheerleading industry. Varsity's chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, said the company was made aware of "inappropriate sexual conduct" allegations against Harris and reported them to the authorities. Per USA Today, the allegations were brought by a pair of 14-year-old twins, who claimed that the alleged conduct took place when they were 13 and Harris was 19. Harris allegedly asked one of the brothers to have sex with him, and the family alleges that he also made inappropriate comments on their social media.

"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," Brillhart said in a statement to USA Today.  

In a statement provided to ABC, Harris' reps denied the allegations, saying, "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."

Cheer followed the competitive cheerleaders of Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, and Harris immediately became a breakout star of the series. He was featured on Oprah's 2020 Vision tour, he hosted red carpet coverage of the Oscars for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and he won the 2020 Critics Choice Real TV award for Male Star of the Year. 

Harris' reps did not respond to TV Guide's request for comment. Netflix had no comment.