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Former 'Cheer' Star Jerry Harris Appears In Court Via Phone For Child Sex Crimes Case
Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris has pleaded not guilty to four counts of production of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, one count of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and one count of travel for the purpose of engaging in a sex act with a minor.
Former “Cheer” star Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris made a brief court appearance this week for his ongoing child sex crimes case.
Harris, 22, appeared via telephone conference Wednesday in the Northern District of Illinois, along with his attorneys, FOX32 in Chicago reports.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Fitzpatrick confirmed to Oxygen.com back in December that the cheerleader pleaded not guilty to four counts of production of child pornography, one count of receipt of child pornography, one count of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and one count of travel for the purpose of engaging in a sex act with a minor. Investigators claim that Harris solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and convinced teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and videos of themselves.
The reason for Wednesday’s hearing was for lawyers to discuss the status of the case with the judge. Judge Manish S. Shah stated that he received a sealed status report from the defense and announced that the case will "remain under seal temporarily,” according to FOX32.
"I do conclude that sealing the status report is appropriate to give the defense what it needs in order to conduct its continuing pretrial investigation," he said.
However, he said he expects it will become unsealed in the future.
Both the defense and the prosecution then agreed to file a joint public status report in October.
Harris was originally arrested “on a federal child pornography charge for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself,” a press release from an Illinois division of the U.S. Attorney's office stated in September. The victim had allegedly informed Harris that he was 13 years old during "their initial online encounter."
The boy was one of two twins, now 14, who first came forward to accuse Harris of sexual harassment and solicitation. The boys are both competitive cheerleaders and have filed a lawsuit against the star in Texas.
Prosecutors allege that Harris he had requested child pornography via Snapchat from at least 10 to 15 individuals. In a motion for pretrial detention filed in October, prosecutors alleged that Harris "exploited and violated at least 10 minor boys by repeatedly requesting the boys send him sexually explicit images of themselves." He pleaded not guilty to all charges in December.
Harris, of Naperville, Illinois, rose to fame after he was featured in the Netflix docuseries "Cheer," which debuted on Netflix in January. It followed the competitive cheer squad at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as they prepared for a national competition.