The alleged acts took place in Florida, Illinois and Texas, according to a seven-count indictment

By Harriet Sokmensuer
December 11, 2020 06:02 PM
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Jerry Harris
| Credit: Getty Images

Jerry Harris, the star of the Netflix docuseries Cheer who in September was arrested on a federal charge of child pornography, is now facing seven additional charges.

On Thursday, prosecutors charged Harris with receiving and attempting to receive child pornography and four counts of using, persuading, inducing and enticing a minor "to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct," according to an indictment obtained by the Chicago Sun, USA Today and the Chicago Tribune.

He was also charged with one count of using the internet to allegedly "persuade, induce, and entice" one of the minors to engage in sexual activity. The alleged acts took place in Florida, Illinois and Texas.

Harris rose to fame in Cheer, a docuseries that follows Texas' Navarro College competitive cheerleading team. Harris, a star on the team, was known for his positive demeanor and the way he inspired teammates.

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Harris has remained behind bars since he was arrested in September on a federal charge for allegedly producing child pornography. He is accused of "enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself," according to a statement from federal officials.

The 21-year-old, the statement alleged, "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 minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old."

Harris is also being sued by two underage twin brothers who filed a lawsuit against Harris for allegedly sexually abusing them and demanding nude photographs from them. The suit, filed in Texas days before Harris' arrest, was obtained by PEOPLE and states the plaintiffs are both competitive cheerleaders who first met Harris in 2018, when they were 13.

The suit alleges he leveraged his prominence in the cheerleading community to groom the two for abuse.

Harris is accused, in the suit, of befriending the boys via social media before allegedly demanding nude photographs from them soon after. It further alleges that Harris would repeatedly ask about their sexual experiences, claiming he "exploited the fact that Plaintiffs were openly gay."

While Harris' attorney has not commented on the charges, in September a spokesperson for Harris released a statement regarding the lawsuit, 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."

It's unclear when Harris is scheduled to appear in court next.