Chicago Sun-Times

STAR OF NET­FLIX SE­RIES ‘CHEER’ CHARGED WITH PRO­DUC­TION OF CHILD PORN

Ac­cord­ing to fed­eral com­plaint, boy says Jerry Har­ris was ‘re­lent­less’ in pur­suit of naked pictures

- JON SEIDEL Crime · Viral · Child Abuse · Sexual Abuse · Violence and Abuse · Society · Netflix · United States of America · Instagram · Jerry Harris · Picaboo · Naperville

One boy called Jerry Har­ris “re­lent­less.”

He told au­thor­i­ties he met the star of the Net­flix do­cuseries “Cheer” this sum­mer — and that Har­ris spent three straight hours ask­ing for naked pho­tos of him. He said Har­ris fi­nally of­fered him money, send­ing him $100 in “good faith” that al­legedly turned into thou­sands.

Now the feds say Har­ris has ad­mit­ted to hav­ing anal and oral sex with a 15-year-old at a cheer event last year, try­ing to per­suade an­other mi­nor to en­gage in oral sex with him at cheer­lead­ing events, so­lic­it­ing a third mi­nor for sex and seek­ing and re­ceiv­ing child pornog­ra­phy on Snapchat from 10 to 15 oth­ers he knew were un­der­age.

The shock­ing al­leged ad­mis­sions by Har­ris, 21, are doc­u­mented in a 28-page crim­i­nal com­plaint charg­ing Har­ris with pro­duc­tion of child pornog­ra­phy that was un­sealed upon his ar­rest Thurs­day morn­ing by the FBI. Har­ris is in fed­eral cus­tody, and pros­e­cu­tors told a judge they aim to keep him there, call­ing him a danger to the com­mu­nity.

A fed­eral mag­is­trate judge in Chicago set a Mon­day de­ten­tion hear­ing for Har­ris, who ap­peared briefly in a 17th-floor court­room at the Dirk­sen Fed­eral Court­house wear­ing a red but­ton-down shirt, grey pants and a blue mask. His legs were shack­led dur­ing the hear­ing, and he gave short answers to the judge’s ques­tions. When the hear­ing ended, deputies hand­cuffed Har­ris and led him from the court­room as he scanned the gallery.

His at­tor­ney, Todd Pugh, de­clined to speak to re­porters in the court­house lobby as he left the build­ing.

Har­ris’ ar­rest fol­lows a USA To­day re­port that fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors had ex­e­cuted a search war­rant at a Naperville home Mon­day as part of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Har­ris.

The com­plaint traces the case against Har­ris to a dis­cov­ery in Fe­bru­ary by the mother of 14-yearold twin boys who are com­pet­i­tive cheer­lead­ers. The mother said she found a mes­sage pur­port­edly from Har­ris on one boy’s cell­phone.

When she con­fronted him, he al­legedly told her he’d been com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Har­ris on Snapchat for more than a year. He said Har­ris con­stantly asked for pho­tos and videos from the boy, though the boy didn’t want to de­scribe them to his mother, ac­cord­ing to the feds.

The boy told au­thor­i­ties he’d first been con­tacted by Har­ris on In­sta­gram in 2018. In that ini­tial com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Har­ris al­legedly asked the boy’s age, and he told Har­ris he was 13.

The boy’s mother even­tu­ally learned of a “my eyes only” folder on Snapchat and de­manded the boy show it to her, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. That’s when she dis­cov­ered a minute-long video of a male sit­ting on a bed mas­tur­bat­ing, the feds say. Though the male’s face was not vis­i­ble, the boy al­legedly told her it was Har­ris.

The mother said she found 12 to 15 pho­tos and videos of her son naked and stretch­ing and do­ing cheer poses. When she asked her son why they were saved on his Snapchat ac­count, the boy said Har­ris con­stantly asked for im­ages of the boy, but the boy only wanted to do the poses once, so he saved them to re­send to Har­ris in the fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

The boy told au­thor­i­ties that on one oc­ca­sion, af­ter he posted a photo of him­self do­ing a cheer­lead­ing ma­neu­ver called “the nee­dle,” Har­ris con­tacted him on Snapchat and said, “Do it naked and take a video and show me.”

He also al­leged that Har­ris twice tried to so­licit him for sex­ual en­coun­ters dur­ing cheer­lead­ing events, once in Fe­bru­ary 2019 and once in May 2019. In texts pro­vided by the boy’s mother, Har­ris al­legedly wrote in May 2019, “I found a place for us to do stuff it’s ac­tu­ally pretty good haha.” The boy replied “i cant sorry,” ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

On Feb. 7, Har­ris al­legedly sent a text to the boy say­ing, “I don’t think we should be friends on snap” and “I’m sorry for what I’ve done in the past.”

The boy’s brother told au­thor­i­ties Har­ris was “touchy” and did “odd things,” and al­leged that Har­ris once sent him a mes­sage ask­ing, “Would you ever want to **** .”

Law en­force­ment in­ter­viewed two ad­di­tional mi­nors this week, in­clud­ing one who called Har­ris “re­lent­less” in his pur­suit of naked pho­to­graphs. When that mi­nor told the other about what was hap­pen­ing, the other agreed to pro­vide pho­to­graphs of him­self to be sent to Har­ris. The feds say Har­ris wound up pay­ing $2,000 to $3,000 to the mi­nor he had been pur­su­ing, un­til Har­ris sent the mi­nor $500 in Au­gust to end the re­la­tion­ship and block Har­ris on Snapchat.

 ?? NET­FLIX ?? Jerry Har­ris in a scene from the do­cuseries “Cheer.”
NET­FLIX Jerry Har­ris in a scene from the do­cuseries “Cheer.”
 ??  ?? Jerry Har­ris in the Net­flix do­cuseries “Cheer.” NET­FLIX
Jerry Har­ris in the Net­flix do­cuseries “Cheer.” NET­FLIX

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