'Cheer' Star Jerry Harris Arrested on Charges of Child Pornography

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Jerry Harris, best known for his inspiring mat talks in Netflix's Cheer documentary, has been arrested.

The U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Illinois confirms to ET that the 21-year-old former Navarro College cheerleader was arrested in Chicago on Thursday 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 and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself, and send them to Harris. The complaint also alleges that the minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old.

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.

A press release adds that the investigation was conducted by the FBI Chicago Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force -- which includes the Cook County Sheriff's Office, Cook County State's Attorney’s Office, and Chicago Police Department --  with assistance from the Crystal Lake Police Department and FBI Waco, Texas, Resident Agency.

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 the Cheer star 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."

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