Jerry Harris was arrested in September on a federal child pornography charge

By Benjamin VanHoose
October 14, 2020 10:07 AM
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Prosecutors are calling Jerry Harris a "clear and present danger" as they motion for the Cheer star to be detained until trial.

According to court documents filed in the Northern District of Illinois on Tuesday, prosecutors claim that Harris, 21, has admitted to victimizing "at least 5 to 10 children who are all forever damaged" and should be detained pending trial.

"Harris exhibits all the signs of a serial child predator and unless and until he receives significant mental health sex offender treatment, he will remain a danger to any child he encounters, either online or in person," reads the document.

In September, federal officials confirmed that Harris was formally charged in Chicago, stating the Naperville man was arrested "for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself."

Harris, the statement alleges, "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."

According to the Chicago Tribune, Harris' legal team has requested he be granted home detention until trial, citing his asthma as a risk for contracting COVID-19 in jail. His detention hearing is set for Wednesday.

In the documents filed this week, prosecutors argued that Harris should be detained because "even when Harris was tipped off to a possible investigation into his crimes, he was not able to control his impulses and he continued to victimize multiple other children while living in a residence with responsible adults present."

Jerry Harris
| Credit: Getty Images

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The criminal complaint against Harris — who rose to fame through the Netflix docuseries Cheer about Texas' Navarro College competitive cheerleading team — also alleges the boy told his mother that in a bathroom at a cheerleading competition, Harris solicited oral sex from him.

A Netflix spokesperson told PEOPLE back in September after news of the arrest: "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process."

The criminal complaint also accuses Harris of admitting to FBI agents of soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.” The FBI conducted a raid on Harris' home last month.

The news came just days after two underage twin brothers filed a lawsuit against Harris for allegedly sexually abusing them and demanding nude photographs from them. Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, the firm representing the twins in a civil suit, confirmed in a statement that the alleged victim in the criminal accusation is one of the twins.

The September suit, filed in Texas and obtained by PEOPLE, 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.

A spokesperson for Harris previously 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."

A statement from Sarah Klein, the plaintiffs' civil attorney, asserts: "We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have taken swift action to protect children by investigating, arresting, and charging Jerry Harris. This was made possible because our clients’ mother had the courage to report Harris to the FBI as well as the Fort Worth Police Department and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered."

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.