If you were among the millions of people who watched the Netflix documentary 'Cheer', you will know the name, Jerry Harris.
Set in the small town of Corsicana, Texas, the series follows hard-driving head cheer coach Monica Aldama as she demands perfection from her team of competitive college athletes. The Cheer Team at Navarro College has won fourteen NCA National Championships in the junior college division, along with five "Grand Nationals" for the highest score of all teams in the competition.
Jerry Harris was one of the central characters, singled out for his positive attitude and eccentric personality. During the finale of Cheer, he received a Regional Scholars Award from the University of Louisville. He attended the school for the fall semester but ultimately returned to Navarro College.
Disturbing news about Jerry Harris has broken. It has been alleged that Harris solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. On September 14, 2020, FBI Agents executed a warrant to search a home in Naperville, Illinois, as part of that investigation.
“The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area,” Siobhan Johnson, FBI special agent, and public affairs officer, told Marisa Kwiatkowski and Tricia L. Nadolny, reporters on USA TODAY’s national investigative team. She declined further comment.
Harris has not been criminally charged, and could not be reached for comment.
The investigation stems from two teens who are taking Harris to court and made allegations in a new lawsuit. According to court documents , the plaintiffs are twins from Fort Worth, Texas who are part of the cheerleading community. The boys describe a pattern of abuse that began when they were 13 and Harris was 19. In one alleged instance in 2019, one of the brothers claims Harris led him to a bathroom during a cheer competition and cornered him in a stall, where he allegedly begged the kid for oral sex. The boy says he managed to take off when his brother and teammates blew up his phone.
The allegations were first brought forward to Varsity Brands, a leader in the Cheerleading community, Harris was employed by them. Varsity Brands alleges that Harris was not working for them at the time the incidents took place. In August 2020, letters to police from Varsity’s Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart disclosed that they had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris, and were reporting the information to authorities as required by law.
In a tweet sent out in July 2020, one of the twins says "pedophilia in cheer needs to be addressed. there are actual monsters of people who we all praise who are preying on little kids. it is sad how it’s almost gotten normalized in this industry".
This is a developing story and will be updated as events happen.