The U.S. Attorney General's Office confirmed that Cheer star Jerry Harris was arrested on suspicion of producing child pornography as of Thursday, Sept. 17. The news comes on the heels of the announcement on Monday, Sept. 14 that the 21-year-old's Naperville, Ill. home was searched as part of an investigation.
So, what did Jerry Harris do? Keep reading while we break down what we know so far.
What did Jerry Harris do?
According to court documents filed on Oct. 13 (obtained by People), prosecutors claim that Harris has admitted to harassing "at least 5 to 10 children who are all forever damaged."
"Harris exhibits all the signs of a serial child predator and unless and until he receives significant mental health sex offender treatment, he will remain a danger to any child he encounters, either online or in person," the document states.
Additionally, prosecutors argued that the defendant should be detained because "even when Harris was tipped off to a possible investigation into his crimes, he was not able to control his impulses and he continued to victimize multiple other children while living in a residence with responsible adults present."
In September, the FBI began investigating allegations that Harris solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. Authorities became aware of the allegations against Harris when Varsity, a private company in the cheerleading industry, which "handles everything from uniform sales to major competitions," per USA Today, reported the "inappropriate sexual conduct" to police in both Florida and Texas back in August.
According to Burton Brillhart, Varsity's chief legal officer, the company reported the allegations "as required by law."
In his communications with law enforcement, Brillhart included two screenshots. The first is a Snapchat message, allegedly featuring Harris' face, with the caption, "Would you ever want to ****."
The second screenshot is a series of text messages which began back in May 2019. It includes a text by an individual named "jerry harris" that reads: "Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it's actually pretty good haha." The number associated with "jerry harris" was confirmed by law enforcement to belong to Harris.
According to a TMZ update from the afternoon, "federal authorities are investigating Jerry for alleged possession of child porn and as part of that probe they are looking into whether Jerry was allegedly soliciting minors."
Siobhan Johnson, an FBI special agent and public affairs officer, confirmed to USA Today that the FBI was "conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity."
Harris was sued following the announcement of the search.
Prior to Harris being charged on Sept. 17, he was sued in Texas for soliciting sex, sending sexually explicit messages, and asking for nude pictures from two 14-year-old twin boys.
In the criminal complaint, screenshots can be seen of messages between Harris and one of the boys in which he asked the boy how old he was, before asking for pictures of his face and "booty."
Authorities also report that Harris had sent more than a dozen explicit pictures and videos, beginning when the boy was 13 years old. Reportedly, the text that read, "Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it's actually pretty good haha," was sent to the boy as a part of Harris' request to have oral sex performed on him by the child. His brother alleges that the message saying, "Would you ever want to ****?" was sent to him.
The complaint also includes two more victims, from whom Harris received nude photos. One of the victims, a 17-year-old, also was allegedly paid by Harris to masturbate on a call. The criminal complaint also alleges that Harris admitted to having anal and oral sex with another minor, a 15-year-old, who was not a part of the complaint. It also claims that he admitted to "soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from at least between 10 and 15 other individuals he knew were minors."
If you need support, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit RAINN.org to chat online one-on-one with a support specialist at any time.