One of the openly gay stars of Netflix’s breakout “Cheer” docuseries has been arrested on a child pornography charge. Jerry Harris, who motivated teammates and captured audience’s hearts with his ebullient personality, was charged this week for producing child pornography, CNN reports. He’s also been accused of child sex abuse, in a lawsuit filed on behalf of two young teenagers.
A rising star, Harris was one of the lead characters on “Cheer,” which follows the cheer team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. The small community college’s renowned cheer team is believed to have won 13 national championships.
Authorities say Harris, who’s now 21 years old, enticed an “underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself.” The minor was 13 at the time. Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed against Harris on behalf of two twin boys who say the cheerleader attempted to solicit nude photographs from them, and also asked one of them to perform a sexual act on him.
The alleged victims in the suit were 13 when say they met Harris in 2018 at cheer competitions. He allegedly struck up relationships with them, messaging them on social media and making FaceTime video calls. The boys say he asked for nude photos. BuzzFeed News obtained some of the alleged screen grabs.
“What everyone is seeing of Jerry Harris, from the outside view, from social media, is a completely different person from when you actually know him,” Charlie, one of the boys who has accused Harris of abuse, said: https://t.co/suElp0nAQQ pic.twitter.com/NyH0n81x04— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) September 15, 2020
At a 2019 cheer competition in Fort Worth, Texas, Harris allegedly asked one of the boys to follow him to a secluded bathroom and perform oral sex, the lawsuit reads. Harris was at the competitions, sponsored and sanctioned by Varsity Spirit LLC and United States All Star Federation, as a coach and mentor.
A spokesperson for Harris denied the claims to CNN: “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.”
Harris has become a cultural sensation, even being called a “gay icon.” The “Cheer” series recently captured two Emmy Awards.