Dec. 12 (UPI) — A federal grand jury in Illinois has indicted Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris, star of the reality show Cheer, on new child pornography charges.
The new counts were filed Thursday and made public Friday.
Harris, 21, faces four counts of using, persuading, inducing and enticing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visible depiction. He was also charged with one count each of interstate travel with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor, enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity, receiving and attempting to receive child pornography.
Harris was arrested in September in Chicago on allegations he asked for and received sexually explicit photos and videos of a minor. Federal prosecutors said he asked a 13-year-old boy to send him nude images between December 2018 and March 2020.
The indictment filed this week accuses Harris of improper conduct with four minors in Florida, Illinois and Texas between August 2017 and August 2020. Prosecutors said he traveled from Texas to Florida in order to engage in sexual activity with at least one of the minors.
Harris has been in an Illinois jail since September. A federal judge declined to issue bail in October, saying he could be a danger to society if released.
Investigators said were tipped off to the alleged crimes after the mother of one of the minors said she found explicit photos on her child’s cellphone and confronted him about them. She said her son’s Snapchat account also contained explicit photos and videos of Harris.
The minor told police that in addition to Harris requesting the images, the older man also solicited sexual encounters from the minor twice when they both attended the same cheerleading competitions. The teen said he refused those advances.
Investigators said Harris was aware of the boy’s age when he asked him for nude images.
Harris also allegedly asked for images of the minor’s underage brother, though the child refused.
Harris appeared in the Netflix series Cheer about the cheerleading program at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. The show earned two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program and Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program. It also won Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming at the Television Critics Association Awards.