Jerry Harris, the star of Netflix's popular docuseries "Cheer," is under investigation by the FBI and facing accusations of soliciting sex from minors. Multiple sources revealed the news to USA Today, which reported that the FBI executed a search warrant on Monday at a home that appears to be where Harris lives in Naperville, Illinois.
Harris has not been criminally charged, but FBI Special Agent Siobhan Johnson confirmed the agency is "conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area."
The investigation stems from allegations brought forward by 14-year-old twin boys, who claimed Harris had solicited sex from them both online and in person at cheer competitions for over a year. They were 13 at the time and the celebrity cheerleader was 19. The twins and their mother went on the record in an extensive USA Today interview but the twins’ last name is being withheld because they are minors.
The FBI interviewed them both on Aug. 28 and had a follow up interview with one twin on Sept. 11.
"Cheer" was a mega smash for Netflix and followed the cheerleading program at Navarro College in Texas. Navarro has won 15 national championships, and the docuseries focused on several characters, including Harris, who gained fame for his relentless optimism in the face of adversity. The school’s cheerleading coach, Monica Aldama, also achieved fame and is on the current season of ABC’s "Dancing With the Stars." The series was nominated for five Emmy awards.
Varsity Brands, a prominent company that controls much of the junior college cheerleading industry contacted police in Texas and Florida about the situation. Varsity’s Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart wrote letters to police on Aug. 1, noting that the company had learned of "inappropriate sexual conduct" allegations against Harris, who he described as a former employee who was not working at Varsity at the time that the reported incidents took place.
That same month, the twins, Charlie and Sam, and their mother, Kristen, showed USA Today screenshots of conversations which were extremely sexual in nature, with Harris propositioning them for sex. They also recounted incidents in which Harris allegedly harassed them at cheer competitions. Kristen discovered the inappropriate texts and says in May she reported it to the U.S. All Star Federation, or USASF, which governs cheerleading discipline.
Kristen details how she had to file a second report with USASF in July and in a follow up call the organization said it was opening an investigation. USASF, however, did not suspend Harris from competition until Monday, when USA Today broke the allegations against Harris.
On Monday the family filed a lawsuit in Texas against Harris, Varsity, USASF and the Cheer Athletics gym, where Harris has cheered, according to court documents obtained by USA Today.
Kristen and the twins accuse Harris of sexual misconduct and for sexually exploiting others in the cheer community. They also accuse the cheer organizations of negligence and failures to protect the boys from abuse.
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