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Jerry Harris, star of 'Cheer,' faces new charges in child pornography case

The alleged acts took place in Florida, Illinois and Texas, according to a seven-count indictment against the 21-year-old.
/ Source: NBC News

"Cheer" star Jerry Harris, who was arrested in September on a federal child pornography charge, faces seven additional counts.

Prosecutors charged the 21-year-old Thursday with receiving and attempting to receive child pornography, using the internet to "persuade, induce, and entice" a minor, and traveling from Texas to Florida "for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct" with a minor, according to an indictment.

Harris was also charged with four counts of using, persuading, inducing, and enticing a minor "to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct."

Attorneys for Harris could not immediately be reached Saturday. In September, his spokesperson released a statement denying the allegations.

“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” the statement said.

The indictment involves four alleged victims in Florida, Illinois and Texas and says that the acts took place between August 2017 and August 2020. The victims are not named in the complaint because they are minors.

Attorneys for two of the victims released a statement on the new charges.

“We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have continued to investigate this case, locate additional victims and take action," Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein said in a joint statement. "This was made possible because our clients’ mother initially had the courage to report Harris to the FBI and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered."

They continued: "We urge the authorities to undertake a thorough investigation of the United States All-Star Federation, Varsity Spirit, and Cheer Athletics to determine which of their executives, employees, and representatives could have stopped Harris’ abuse and failed to do so.”

Harris was arrested in September after he was accused of soliciting child pornography images and videos from two 14-year-old boys on multiple occasions, according to a complaint filed that month.

One of the boys told police that Harris had solicited oral sex from him in a bathroom during a cheerleading event they both attended.

The complaint alleges that Harris had contacted one of the boys on Instagram in 2018, when he was 19 and the boys were 13 years old. One of the boys said he sent nude pictures to Harris on Snapchat and began communicating with him on FaceTime, where Harris asked the boy to expose himself.

The other boy said that after he refused to send Harris pictures, Harris started to get "pushy" and made him feel guilty, according to the complaint.

Forensic investigations into the boys' phones showed text messages and Snapchat communications between them and Harris, the complaint states, adding that Harris told investigators during a voluntary interview that the phone number on the boys' phone was his.

A civil lawsuit was filed on behalf of the boys accusing Harris of abuse and child sexual exploitation.

The complaint further alleges that a 17-year-old boy told investigators that Harris was "relentless" in soliciting photos from him on Snapchat. He said he told Harris no repeatedly until Harris offered to pay him money.

Harris allegedly told investigators that he had solicited and received nude pictures from 10 to 15 others who he knew were minors, according to the complaint. He also allegedly admitted to having oral and anal sex with a 15-year-old in the summer of 2018, the court document states.

Harris appeared on the Netflix docuseries "Cheer," which followed a group of student cheerleaders at Navarro College in Texas while they prepared for competition.

Navarro Cheer said in a tweet in September that it was "devastated by this shocking, unexpected news."

"Our hearts are shattered into a million pieces," the statement read. "Our children must be protected from abuse & exploitation, & we are praying hard for the victims and everyone affected."

Netflix said in a statement that it was "shocked by this news."

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com.