Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris, the breakout star from Netflix’s reality TV series Cheer, is now facing additional charges related to child pornography and sexual misconduct with a minor following his initial arrest for similar alleged crimes in September.
On Thursday, the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois filed a seven-count indictment against Harris, related to incidents involving minors from 2017 to August of this year, reports NBC. He is charged with using the internet to “persuade, induce, and entice” a minor, and traveling from Texas to Florida “for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct” with a minor, and inducing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for child pornography purposes.
In September the 21-year-old Harris was arrested and taken into custody in Illinois on charges that he solicited two 14-year-old boys for nude photos. That federal complaint also said Harris admitted to investigators that he used Snapchat to ask minors to send him sexually explicit photos and “engag[ed] in anal and oral sex with a 15 year old minor” during a cheer event last year.
At the time, a spokesperson for Harris said they categorically dispute the claims in the complaint. His lawyers have not made a public statement on the new charges, which have come after the mother of the two minors he is alleged to have solicited sexual content from reported additional evidence to the authorities.
Attorneys for two of the victims released a statement on the new charges.
“We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have continued to investigate this case, locate additional victims and take action,” Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein said in a joint statement. “This was made possible because our clients’ mother initially had the courage to report Harris to the FBI and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered.”
They continued: “We urge the authorities to undertake a thorough investigation of the United States All-Star Federation, Varsity Spirit, and Cheer Athletics to determine which of their executives, employees, and representatives could have stopped Harris’ abuse and failed to do so.”
A federal judge denied Harris’ request for bond in October. He faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years for the child pornography charges.
Cheer premiered on Netflix in January of this year, and followed a team of competitive college cheerleaders in Corsicana, Texas. Harris emerged as a key personality from the series and was offered opportunities in the entertainment industry including being Oscar correspondent for The Ellen Degeneres Show.
“Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process,” Netflix said after the revelation of the charges against Harris in September.