A judge ruled that 'Cheer' star Jerry Harris is a 'danger to the community' and will stay in jail ahead of his trial

Darcy Schild
·4 min read
Jerry Harris attends the Build Series to discuss "Cheer" at Build Studio on January 29, 2020 in New York City.
Jerry Harris attends the Build Series to discuss "Cheer" at Build Studio on January 29, 2020 in New York City. Jim Spellman/Getty Images
  • A federal judge on Friday ruled that "Cheer" star Jerry Harris will not be released from federal custody ahead of his trial on charges of child pornography.

  • Harris, 21, was arrested in September and was charged with producing child pornography. He has been in federal custody since his arrest.

  • US Magistrate Judge Heather McShain said in a phone hearing on Friday that Harris' release would pose a "danger to the community," according to the Chicago Tribune.

  • Harris' attorneys had asked McShain to let Harris serve home detention, and a group of "cheer moms" had reportedly volunteered to monitor him, the Chicago Tribune reported.

  • In McShain's decision, she said it "would be virtually impossible" to monitor Harris at home, saying that she has "found that the defendant lacks control."

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

A federal judge ruled on Friday that "Cheer" star Jerry Harris will stay in jail ahead of his trial on charges of producing child pornography, saying that his release would pose a "danger to the community," according to the Chicago Tribune.

Harris, 21, from Naperville, Illinois, rose to fame after starring in the Netflix docuseries "Cheer," which followed a cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.

In September, USA Today was the first to report that Harris was under investigation by the FBI for allegedly soliciting sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.

Harris was arrested in September on charges of producing child pornography. He has been in federal custody since his arrest, according to the Tribune.

On Wednesday, Harris' lawyers and federal prosecutors appeared in a court hearing to argue for and against his release from jail ahead of his trial.

Harris' attorneys had asked US Magistrate Judge Heather McShain to let Harris serve home detention, and a group of "cheer moms" had volunteered to monitor him and prevent him from using the internet, the Tribune reported.

McShain, the federal judge in Chicago presiding over the case, ruled Friday during a phone hearing that Harris will not be released from jail ahead of his trial.

According to the New York Times McShain said in her decision: "While I have no doubt that the four third-party custodians would act in good faith to attempt to protect the defendant from accessing the internet," the type of monitoring required "would be virtually impossible."

McShain added: "I also have found that the defendant lacks control."

"Upon learning of the investigation, [Harris] dumped his cellphone, obtained a new cellphone, and continued with his same course of conduct," McShain said. "That reveals behavior that the defendant cannot or is unwilling to control."

In court documents filed on Wednesday, Harris' lawyers asked the court to consider hardships Harris lived through in his early years, and the need for mental health treatment from past experiences, such as losing his single mother to lung cancer and being homeless, Insider's Lauren Frias previously reported.

McShain acknowledged Harris' past experiences but stated they aren't enough to warrant his release from federal custody, according to the Times.

"By all accounts, he was a rising star with a positive future ahead," McShain said during Friday's hearing. "But those positive aspects must be weighed against the aspect he hid from the community."

Harris admitted to 'soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat' from 'individuals he knew were minors,' according to a September criminal complaint

According to a criminal complaint from the US Department of Justice published on September 17, Harris, who was identified by his full first name, Jeremiah, admitted to "soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors."

In the criminal complaint document, prosecutors say Harris was involved in the alleged misconduct from December 2018 to March 2020. Harris admitted to soliciting sex from a 13-year-old in a bathroom and offering a minor "$2,000 to $3,000" for naked photographs, the complaint says.

Court documents from the US Attorney's Office released on Tuesday also alleged that Harris, 21, "exploited and violated" at least five to 10 minors and sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy, Insider's Lauren Frias previously reported.

"We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," a spokesperson for Harris previously told Variety in a statement in September in response to the initial sexual abuse allegations. "We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed."

A representative for Harris did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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