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Jerry Harris, 21, to remain in custody in child pornography case


Netflix Cheer star Jerry Harris will remain in federal custody after being charged with child pornography because his lawyer said there is no plan yet for where he could go if he was released on bail. 

At a federal court hearing in Chicago on Monday, a judge granted a request from the 21-year-old celebrity cheerleader’s lawyer to keep him in custody for now.

The lawyer asked the judge to postpone any decision on Harris’ bond until they had determined a plan for where he could stay if he was released.

The judge said that when Harris does have a suitable place to stay, he will then be allowed another hearing to request to be released on bail. 

Harris, who was arrested and charged last week for child pornography, dialed into the court hearing via phone. 

At a federal court hearing in Chicago on Monday, a judge granted a request from Jerry Harris’ lawyer to keep him in custody for now until arrangements can be made so he can request bail

Harris’ mother Lizzie Bowman died of lung cancer in 2016 and his father has been absent from his life.

The show that made him famous documented how Harris was taken in by the family of one of his fellow cheerleaders on the ICE All-Stars team in Naperville after his mother’s death.

At one point, his team started a GoFundMe page, which raised $60,000, to help Harris stay on the team and continue his education.

Harris is accused of inappropriate conduct with a 13-year-old boy when he was 19. 

Harris’ arrest came just days after 14-year-old cheerleading twin brothers in Texas filed a lawsuit alleging he solicited sexually explicit photos from them for a year and asked one of them for oral sex.

The production of child pornography charge is related to allegations of inappropriate conduct with the twin he tried to solicit oral sex from.

Prosecutors say Harris admitted in an interview with FBI agents this week that he had asked the boy, who was then 13, to send him photographs and videos of his penis and buttocks on Snapchat. 

Harris also allegedly admitted to soliciting explicit photos from dozens of other underage boys and engaging in a sex act with a 15-year-old at a cheer comp.

The 28-page criminal complaint related to his arrest, which came just days after the FBI raided his home in Naperville, Illinois, contains a number of screenshots of Harris’ exchanges with both twins.

The boys, Charlie and Sam, are not identified in the criminal complaint but they gave an interview to USA Today this week speaking about the allegations after filing the lawsuit. 

Harris has been the subject of an FBI investigation following allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with a minor. His arrest comes just three days after the FBI raided his home in Naperville, Illinois 

The criminal complaint related to his arrest includes several photos and message exchanges allegedly between Harris and the boy. In one Snapchat exchange included in the complaint, the boy sent a photo of himself and Harris allegedly responded: ‘Do it naked and take a video’

The complaint says that Harris sent this photo to one of the boys on Snapchat asking: ‘Would you ever want to ***’. The boy told authorities he interpreted this as Harris asking him to engage in sex acts 

The FBI started investigating after the allegations were reported to authorities by Varsity, which is the global authority of competitive cheerleading.

In the criminal complaint, Harris is accused of contacting both boys on social media as early as 2018 and soliciting explicit images from both of them.

One of the boys, identified as Minor 2, told authorities that he always refused to send Harris any explicit images.

The other boy, identified as Minor 1, said he sent more than a dozen sexually explicit photos and videos to Harris, at his request, on Snapchat between December 2018 and March 2020. 

Harris, who was 19 at the time, is also accused of sending the boy explicit images of himself and footage of him masturbating.

The boy claims Harris also once asked him for oral sex in bathroom when they both attended a cheer competition in February 2019.

Three months later, Harris allegedly sent the boy a text message saying he had ‘found a place for us to do stuff’ at another cheer competition. The boy told authorities that he understood that to mean Harris wanted to engage in sex acts with him.

The complaint says Harris first contacted the boy on Instagram in 2018 who told him he was only 13. Harris allegedly responded: ‘Oh ok have any pics?’, before adding the photos should be of his face and ‘booty’

Pictured above on the left is a screenshot included in the complaint of several nude photos that he allegedly sent to Harris. Harris’ face can be seen in one of the images. Pictured right is a text Harris allegedly sent the boy saying he had ‘found a place for us to do stuff’ at a cheer competition

The boy denied Harris’ requests for sex acts on both occasions, according to the complaint.

Harris was the breakout star of the show that followed the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as it sought a national title.

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.

His former teammates have come out in droves since his arrest to say they did not know of his alleged behavior. 

His ex-coach Monica Aldama, who is appearing on the next season of Dancing with the Stars, took to Instagram last week to say she was devastated by the news. 

She said her heart has been ‘shattered into a million pieces’ over the scandal.

‘Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I’m praying hard for the victims and everyone affected,’ she said.

‘I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news.’ 

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