Cheer coach Monica Aldama has spoken out after news broke on Thursday that one of her former cheerleaders, Jerry Harris, was arrested on child pornography charges. Early Friday morning, the Navarro College coach, who is currently competing on Dancing With the Stars, took to Instagram to share a statement.
"My heart is shattered into a million pieces," she wrote. "I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news. Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I'm praying hard for the victims and everyone affected."
Aldama turned the comments off on her post and added, "Please respect our privacy as our family mourns during this heartbreaking time."
The respected coach is seemingly the first person featured in the popular Netflix documentary special to publicly speak out about the allegations against Harris and his arrest. Aldama's statement was also posted on the official Navarro College Cheer account.
On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Illinois confirmed to ET that the 21-year-old former Navarro College cheerleader was arrested in Chicago and charged with production of child pornography. Harris will be in federal custody at least until Monday for his detention hearing at 10:30 a.m. CTD when the government will argue whether he should be denied bond as a danger to the community, according to the Attorney's office, who will be arguing for continued detention.
According to the criminal complaint, Harris allegedly contacted an underage boy on social media, who he knew was 13 years old, and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself, and send them to Harris.
When FBI raided Harris' Naperville home on Sept. 14, he admitted to agents in a voluntary interview that he had solicited lewd images and sex from the boy on numerous occasions, knowing that he was 13 years old, according to the complaint.
Production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
"Like everyone we are shocked by this news," a Netflix spokesperson told ET. "Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process."
Meanwhile, a rep for Navarro College tells ET that Navarro College takes all matters involving the abuse of minors seriously. Out of respect for everyone involved, Navarro College will not comment on an ongoing criminal proceeding.
The federal investigation remains ongoing. ET has also reached out to Harris' spokesperson and Varsity for comment.
ET reported earlier this week that Harris was under investigation by the FBI for allegedly soliciting sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. A spokesperson for Harris told ET at the time that their client disputes any claims against him.
"We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," the statement read. "We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed."