'Cheer' star Jerry Harris under investigation for allegedly soliciting minors for sex: Report

Jerry Harris, the breakout star of Netflix’s popular docuseries Cheer, is under federal investigation for allegedly soliciting minors for sex. USA Today reports FBI agents executed a search warrant at his home Monday afternoon in Naperville, Ill. as part of the investigation.

“The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area,” FBI special agent Siobhan Johnson confirmed to Yahoo Entertainment. However, she declined to comment on specifics of the investigation and did not name Harris.

In a statement to Variety, a rep for Harris denied the allegations: “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”

The 21-year-old has not been criminally charged.

According to USA Today, police in Texas and Florida were alerted about misconduct allegations involving Harris by Varsity Brands, the global authority for competitive cheerleading and dance. In Aug. 1 letters to local authorities, Varsity’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, said the company learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” accusations against Harris and was reporting the information as it’s required by law.

“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future,” Brillhart wrote in the letter.

Brillhart apparently included two screenshots of inappropriate messages.

One is supposedly of a Snapchat message that includes a portion of what appears to be Harris’s face with the text, “Would you ever want to ****.” The second screenshot is purportedly of a series of text messages from May 2019 between Harris and another individual in which he writes, “Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good haha.”

A representative for Varsity Brands did not respond to Yahoo’s request for comment.

Cheer premiered on Netflix in January. The docuseries followed the Navarro College cheerleading squad’s quest to win a national title. It was nominated for six Emmy awards.

Many of the cheerleaders became instant social media stars. Harris has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Cast members, including Harris, Gabi Butler, and Coach Monica Aldama appeared on stage during Oprah Winfrey’s Dallas stop of her 2020 Vision Tour. Aldama has even landed a spot on the new season of Dancing With the Stars. But it was Harris who captured hearts with his positivity and “mat talk.” Ellen DeGeneres tapped him to do the Oscars red carpet for The Ellen DeGeneres Show back in February.

Harris’s last social media post was hours ago as he shared two photos on his Instagram story. He has not publicly commented on the allegations.

This story was originally published on Sept. 14, 2020 at 2:58 p.m. PT.

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