‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris, 21, who ‘admitted to soliciting explicit photos from minors’ is denied bond in his child pornography case and will stay in jail as he awaits trial
- Lawyers for Harris, a star of the Netflix documentary series, had argued that four women could monitor him around the clock for any cellphone use
- A prosecutor had argued that it would be impossible to prevent Harris from acting on his ‘criminal impulses’
- Federal Judge Heather McShain decided Friday that monitoring would not be enough to prevent him from potentially victimizing young boys
- Allegations surfaced in September when twin boys filed a lawsuit claiming Harris sent them explicit photos and cornered one in a bathroom, begging for sex
A judge decided Friday to keep Jerry Harris, a star of the Netflix documentary series ‘Cheer,’ in jail while he awaits trial on child pornography charges.
U.S. District Judge Heather McShain determined that a proposed plan to release Harris that included around-the-clock monitoring would not be sufficient to prevent him from potentially victimizing young boys.
Lawyers for Harris, 21, had made a motion to release him and place him on home confinement before his trial.
The motion, filed ahead of a court hearing Wednesday, argued that the mental health treatment that the 21-year-old suburban Chicago man needs is not available in federal jail. The document also said that Harris has asthma, which puts him at greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
‘Cheer’ star, Jerry Harris (pictured), was denied bond Friday by a federal judge and will stay in jail as he awaits trial in on child pornography charges
Harris (far right) is pictured with his Cheer co-stars. The group shot to fame earlier this year, following the release of their popular docuseries on Netflix
At the 90-minute hearing in federal court in Texas Wednesday, Todd Pugh, one of Harris’s attorneys, told the judge that third-party monitors would make sure Harris doesn’t use the devices that he allegedly used to coerce young boys into sending him obscene photographs.
The four women who would take turns monitoring Harris assured the judge that they would turn him in if he tried to use a cellphone or other electronic device.
The defense team said he would have regular check-ins with a psychiatrist and argued that Harris enjoyed community support and had no criminal history, according to TMZ.
A prosecutor argued that it would be impossible to prevent Harris from acting on his ‘criminal impulses.’
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parente said that after Harris learned he was under investigation, he destroyed his cellphone and used another phone to seek photos from children.
The criminal complaint related to his arrest includes several photos and message exchanges allegedly between Harris and the boy. In one Snapchat exchange included in the complaint, the boy sent a photo of himself and Harris allegedly responded: ‘Do it naked and take a video’
The complaint says that Harris sent this photo to one of the boys on Snapchat asking: ‘Would you ever want to ***’. The boy told authorities he interpreted this as Harris asking him to engage in sex acts
The complaint says Harris first contacted the boy on Instagram in 2018 who told him he was only 13. Harris allegedly responded: ‘Oh ok have any pics?’, before adding the photos should be of his face and ‘booty’
Pictured above on the left is a screenshot included in the complaint of several nude photos that he allegedly sent to Harris. Harris’ face can be seen in one of the images. Pictured right is a text Harris allegedly sent the boy saying he had ‘found a place for us to do stuff’ at a cheer competition
‘His dangerousness is his ability to access the internet [and] there’s no ankle bracelet for cellphones,’ Parente said.
The judge agreed with prosecutors.
Allegations against Harris surfaced last month when twin boys who are now 14 years old filed a lawsuit alleging that he had sent them sexually explicit photographs of himself and cornered one of them in a bathroom and begged for oral sex.
Later that week, Harris, who lives in Naperville, was arrested and charged with producing child pornography.
According to the criminal complaint, Harris allegedly admitted to FBI agents that he had asked one of the teens to send him photos and videos the boy’s genitals and buttocks via Snapchat.
He also allegedly admitted to requesting and receiving photographs of 10 to 15 other children, according to the complaint.
The complaint said the exchanges between Harris and one of the boys stopped earlier this year. A text message included in the complaint shows the boy asking Harris why he had blocked him on Snapchat. ‘I don’t think we should be friends on Snap,’ Harris said
Harris rose to fame as a star of the Netflix series Cheer. He posted this picture to his Instagram account