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Jerry Harris, the breakout star of the hit Netflix docuseries “Cheer,” has been handed a new seven-count indictment just months after he was hit with federal child pornography charges.
The new indictment, made public on Friday, alleges that Harris solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and convinced teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and videos of themselves.
In the original complaint filed in September, not only did prosecutors allege that Harris admitted to FBI agents that he’d asked a teenage boy to send him lewd photographs of himself, but that 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."
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. The victim had informed Harris that he was 13 years old during "their initial online encounter."
The boy was one of two twins, now 14, who have come forward to accuse the 21-year-old of sexual harassment and solicitation. The boys are both competitive cheerleaders and have filed a lawsuit against the star in Texas.
Friday’s indictment added four new alleged victims to the official indictment already listed, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Harris, of Naperville, Illinois, has been held in a federal detention facility without bond since he was arrested on the child pornography charges in September, and a judge has subsequently suggested that he would pose a public danger if released from custody. Harris allegedly sexually assaulted one minor boy at a 2019 cheer event and attempted another assault at a subsequent event, according to a criminal complaint filed in September.
Harris’ attorneys have not yet spoken about the new charges but an arraignment has been scheduled for Friday afternoon.
Attorneys for two of Harris’ alleged victims — teenage brothers who have sued Harris in Texas — praised authorities on Friday to continue to “locate victims and take action.”
“This was made possible because our clients’ mother initially had the courage to report Harris to the FBI and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered,” the statement from attorneys Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein read.
Harris, who was born in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale and raised in nearby Bolingbrook, was the breakout star of the Emmy-winning docuseries that follows the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
“Cheer” was an instant success when it was released in January, and Harris drew fans for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk.” Earlier this year, he interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The new filing calls for the former star to face a mandatory minimum 15 years in prison if convicted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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