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Jerry Harris’ horrifying child porn scandal casts shadow over Netflix’s ‘Cheer’

nAvarro University’s formidable cheerleaders will return to screens on January 12th when Netflix premieres the second season of their hit reality series Cheer.

But a once beloved member of the team won’t join his teammates as they battle for another championship title. Instead, Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris will sit in a cell in Chicago.

Harris faces at least 30 years behind bars on charges of child pornography and sexual exploitation of five minors. Federal prosecutors demand compensation Harris is a serial child predator who lured 13-year-old boys to send him pornographic videos and photos. (Harris pleaded not guilty to seven charges against him.)

It seems the 22-year-old doesn’t yet fully understand the gravity of the situation as he waits for a trial date to be set, as Navarro’s cheerleaders head coach Monica Aldama admitted during the new season that that Harris wrote her a letter where he seemed out of place in the world, daydreaming about his plans to become a motivational speaker.

“It’s hard to read,” Aldama admitted, adding that she was caught off guard by his cheerful tone. “His letter was upbeat. Like there’s not a single negative thing in this letter. I want support. Yet I was so disappointed. I have all these feelings just fighting each other. ”

News of Harris’s arrest in 2020 was shocking. Just a few months ago, he emerged as the series’ breakout star. Viewers can’t help but root for the team’s always-positive underdog, who despite his own struggles, including losing his mother to cancer at the age of 16, has always shown up to practice. with smile and motivational talk to his colleagues team members.

His popularity translates to off-screen, where Harris is signing contracts left and right. As the pandemic swept the world in March 2020, Netflix called Harris for a weekly mental health chat Want to talk about that? range of social media. He’s interviewed for glitzy magazines, amassed over 1 million Instagram followers, moved into his own home, interviewed A-listers for Ellen DeGeneres’ show at awards ceremonies. Oscar, and even had Oprah call.

It all fell apart when Harris was dragged from his suburban home in Naperville, Illinois by FBI agents in September 2020.

Federal agents began investigating Harris a few months before his arrest after Texas mother Kristen contacted officials in distress about what she had come to learn about Harris’ allegedly interacting with her twin sons Charlie and Sam, 16 years old. (The family’s last name has been withheld to protect their identities, as the boys are alleged victims of underage sexual abuse.)

The then 13-year-old, openly gay cheerleader, first met 19-year-old Harris on social media in 2018. By that time, Harris was already well known in the competitive cheerleading world as a competitive cheerleader. is All-Star Cheerful personality and cheerleader athletics coach, and has been accused of using his status to his advantage.

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Oprah Winfrey Talks to the Stars of Netflix Cheer (LR) Monica Aldama, Jerry Harris, Gaby Butter, Lexi Brumback, TT Baker and Dillion Brandt during Oprah’s Vision 2020: Your Life in Focus tour presented by WW at the American Airlines Center on February 15, 2020, in Dallas, Texas.

Suzanne Cordeiro / AFP / Getty

“Almost immediately” after adding the boys on social media, Harris began demanding “trophy photos,” despite knowing their ages, according to federal court documents and $1 million civil suit against Harris in Texas.

“Get naked and video it for me,” Harris allegedly responded to a Snapchat story Charlie posted in April 2020, where the teenager demonstrated an intricate maneuver called “needle”, with a fluffy stuffed animal hanging from it. bunk bed in the background.

Federal prosecutors allege that during a FaceTime call with Charlie, Harris instructed him to “bend more” and show “your ass.”

As a manipulative ploy, Harris allegedly threatened to unfriend the twins on social media if they didn’t send nude photos. In other cases, he allegedly tried to entice them with the promise of boosting their social media popularity with a post of his, but only if they sent him pornographic footage. .

Harris even pursued the twins – especially Charlie – offline, according to court documents, hugging and fumbling with the boys at various cheerleading competitions. During one such event in Fort Worth in February 2019, Harris allegedly pressured Charlie to a stall in a segregated bathroom.

“Harris continued sexual harassment and sexual harassment [Charlie] and began to demand and beg [him] to perform oral sex on Harris,” the civil suit alleges. Charlie insists he refused and rushed out of the bathroom after his brother and other teammates started texting him because he had been gone for too long.

Harris continued sexual harassment and sexual harassment [Charlie] and began to demand and beg [him] to perform oral sex on Harris…

A few months later, while both Charlie and Harris were in Florida for another contest, Harris again suggested Charlie have sex, based on USA Today, published screenshots of the alleged chat.

“Hey btw, I found a place for us to do everything, it’s actually pretty good haha,” Harris is said to have texted the boy. When Charlie turned him down, saying “maybe another time,” Harris replied, “It won’t be but that’s okay, I still want to hang out with you.”

In February 2020, one month later Cheer debut, Harris allegedly sent one of the twins a Snapchat with part of his face exposed, writing, “Do you ever want to [fuck]? ”

“It was really weird for me – especially the first instance where anything had ever happened to me,” said Charlie. USA Today. “I’ve never flirted with anyone before, been in a relationship with a guy. It was weird for me it was my first time. ”

“It just ate me,” he added, admitting he suffered from anxiety and crying at school due to constant pressure from Harris. “It just made me feel gross and uncomfortable. Every time I see his name or something like that, I just get teary eyed. ”

The boy’s mother claims she discovered what was going on in February 2020, discovering messages and a video in which Harris allegedly filmed himself masturbating.

At first, Kristen said she felt sympathy for cheerleader Navarro, having watched Cheer and know the struggles of the Harris family. She told her sons not to communicate with Harris anymore, but she changed her mind when she realized this was not an isolated event.

In a voluntary interview with federal prosecutors, Harris admitted to exchanging nude photos and videos on Snapchat with about 15 other minors; having sex with a 15-year-old male student during a cheerleading event in 2019; and paid a teenager to pose for nude photos, according to court papers.

A 17-year-old told officials that Harris harassed him to take nude photos for three hours via Snapchat in 2020, and ended up offering the boy cash for the sexually explicit photos. The 17-year-old obtained nude photos from a willing friend, also 17, and sent them to Harris. As a sign of goodwill, Harris sent the boy an electronic payment of $100, the criminal complaint alleges.

Over the course of the summer of 2020, Harris allegedly sent the 17-year-old $3,000 in exchange for nude photos and video calls on Snapchat, where he allegedly instructed teenagers “parted cheeks” and “showed butt” to Camera.

Although Harris was initially arrested on a child pornography charge related to his alleged conduct with the twins, due to information provided by other minors, prosecutors involved The state indicted Harris on new charges in December 2020.

He was charged with four counts of child sexual exploitation, one count of receiving and attempting to receive child pornography, and one count of traveling with the intent to perform a sexual act with a minor. youth and one count of sedition.

While his legal team tries to convince the judge to release Harris on bail, proposes a plan where Harris would be under the supervision of four “cheer moms” he has met through the world of cheerleading. competition, prosecutors strongly opposed the bid.

He was charged with four counts of child sexual exploitation, one count of receiving and attempting to receive child pornography, and one count of traveling with the intent to perform a sexual act with a minor. youth and one count of sedition.

They claimed in court papers that Harris had all the hallmarks of a “mass child predator” and was at high risk of abusing minors if released. To bolster their argument, they allege that before his arrest, Harris was somehow warned that he was under investigation and destroyed his cell phone. However, just a few weeks later, he obtained a new phone with the intention of “victimizing minors”, according to court documents.

A judge sided with prosecutors and Harris remains in jail pending a trial date.

Problems have gotten worse for Cheer when Two other men who also appeared on the show were arrested on the same day in February 2021. Mitchell Ryan, 24, faces aggravated child sexual assault charges stemming from an incident in July 2020. A grand jury refused to indict Ryan on charges in September, to the disappointment of the accuser’s family.

Meanwhile, Robert Joseph Scianna Jr., who appeared briefly on the show and was never a cheerleader for Navarro, in Virginia has been charged with indecent liberties with a child and use of equipment electronic communications for sexual solicitation. Scianna pleaded guilty in August and is awaiting sentencing.

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When Netflix announced that they brought Cheer season two, the immediate question is how it will deal with Harris leaving the team. The streaming giant ended up dedicating an entire episode to the situation, with emotional interviews from Harris’s former teammates, including La’Darius Marshall and Gabi Butler, coach Aldama, and even Charlie and Sam’s accusers.

“I’d catch him if I knew about any of this,” Marshall said. “I feel worse than him going to jail. I don’t care how famous you are. I don’t care how much money you have, I don’t care how people love you — that doesn’t give you the right to do something like this, especially when one of your best friends friends you know have been through something like that.”

While Butler, 23, stated that she was “heartbroken” by the allegations, she admitted she couldn’t abandon her friend. “I can’t and I won’t,” Butler said. “I couldn’t turn my back on him because he was there when I needed him.”

Netflix itself has largely remained silent on the matter, issuing a single statement following Harris’ arrest and declining to comment on the arrests of two other men last February. “Like everyone, we are shocked by this news,” a company spokesman said at the time. “Any abuse of a minor is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”

As for Aldama, who tearfully said that Harris was like a child to her, she had almost lost hope in his situation. “It’s sad and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it,” she said.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jerry-harris-horrific-child-porn-scandal-looms-over-netflixs-cheer?source=articles&via=rss Jerry Harris’ horrifying child porn scandal casts shadow over Netflix’s ‘Cheer’

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