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Cheer Star Jerry Harris Arrested on Federal Child Pornography Charge
Jerry Harris is accused of "enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself"
Cheer's Monica Aldama has spoken out following her costar Jerry Harris' arrest on a child pornography charge.
On Thursday, Harris was arrested for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself. He has been charged with one count of producing child pornography, according to federal officials. Aldama, who coached Harris on the Navarro College cheerleading squad as seen on the Netflix docuseries, said she was "devastated" by the news in a statement posted to Instagram Friday morning.
Jim Spellman/Getty Images; Manny Carabel/Getty Images
"My heart is shattered into a million pieces," wrote Aldama, who is currently competing on Dancing With the Stars. "I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news. Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I'm praying hard for the victims and everyone affected. Please respect our privacy as our family mourns during this heartbreaking time."
According to a criminal complaint, Harris admitted to asking a 13-year-old boy to take graphic photos and videos to send to him on Snapchat, and to “soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.” His arrest came just days after two 14-year-old twin brothers filed a lawsuit against Harris accusing him of sexual exploitation and abuse. Attorneys for the brothers confirmed to EW that Harris’ arrest was in response to their clients’ complaint.
Representatives for Harris have not responded to EW's multiple requests for comment, but a spokesperson for Harris told PEOPLE, "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."
A Netflix spokesperson said in a statement to EW, "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process."