Jerry Harris, one of the breakout stars of Netflix cheerleading show, Cheer, has been arrested and charged with producing child pornography. A report shared by the United States Department of Justice says that Harris enticed a thirteen-year-old boy to create and share sexually explicit videos and photos of himself. It adds that the minor told Harris he was underage during their first encounter, but that Harris was not deterred. He has denied the claims.
"Jeremiah Harris, 21, contacted the underage boy on a social media application and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself and send them to Harris, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago," the report reads. "The minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old, the complaint states." Production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years, it notes.
Harris yesterday appeared in court, where he said "Yes" when asked if he understood the charge he stands accused on. Following the fifteen minute hearing, The New York Times report that he was then handcuffed and lead out of the room. His spokesperson told People: "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."
It's believed that numerous boys were asked to send nude photographs and videos to Harris between December 2018 and March 2020, and that on occasion, Harris paid $500 for a video call in which a boy performed explicit acts. Harris is also accused of sending videos of himself masturbating to minors and asking for oral sex in a bathroom while at a cheerleading competition.
It's reported that during an interview on Monday, Harris confessed that he had indeed asked the underage boy to send explicit photos of himself, requested oral sex and confirmed that he knew the boy was only 13. Harris also confirmed that he sent a text message to a second boy from the lawsuit questioning whether or not he would be interested in engaging in sexual acts.
Harris' legal representative, Todd Pugh, did not offer a comment to the media following his client's court appearance.
Speaking of the case, a Netflix spokesperson said: "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process."
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