'Cheer' Coach Monica Aldama Talks About 'Shocking' and 'Devastating' Jerry Harris Allegations

During an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, Monica Aldama opened up about being “heartbroken” after learning about Jerry Harris’ alleged sex crimes

Monica Aldama Jerry Harris Cheer
Monica Aldama and Jerry Harris. Photo: Jim Spellman/Getty (2)

Cheer star Monica Aldama is recalling being "heartbroken" after finding out that Jerry Harris, a former Navarro College cheerleader, was charged with sex crimes last year.

The 49-year-old cheerleading coach opened up about learning of the allegations against Harris and how she tried to remain mentally strong amid the news, during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday.

"It was shocking. It was devastating for everyone," Aldama told host DeGeneres. "As a parent, I was heartbroken for those affected and, you know, it was definitely one of the major challenges that we faced, just keeping ourselves in a good state of mind, mentally to get through that."

Harris, 22, become a breakout star of Cheer during the show's first season, leaving fans and his former teammates shocked when two underage twin brothers filed a lawsuit against him in September 2020 for allegedly sexually abusing them and demanding nude photographs from them.

Additionally, he was arrested 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.

Later in 2020, Harris was charged 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. 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.

Monica Aldama on Ellen
Monica Aldama with Ellen DeGeneres. Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

Attorneys for Harris, who remains in custody, have not commented on the charges but a spokesperson previously denied the claims made in the lawsuit. "We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," the spokesperson said. "We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed."

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During her Wednesday appearance, Aldama also discussed minimizing outside noise and potential distractions following the success of Cheer.

Monica Aldama on Ellen
Monica Aldama with Ellen DeGeneres. Michael Rozman/Warner Bros.

"All the outside stuff stayed outside and we really put the hours into preparing," she said of her team, who aim to score another NCA championship title while processing Harris' arrest in season two of the Netflix hit.

"You know, when you come from adversity, you are grateful for opportunities that you get. These kids have worked so hard. They have overcome circumstances, so we kept saying all the time that we have an attitude of gratitude," she added. "We were grateful for where we were at."

The former Dancing with the Stars contestant hopes that Cheer will expose viewers to a different side of the sport.

"Cheerleading has a stereotype from the history of cheerleading and then from all of the movies portray it as some popular mean girl that is just on the sidelines to look cute and I really wanted to introduce the world to my team, I was so proud of them," she explained. "Their athleticism, the grit, determination. So I was really excited to do the show."

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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