‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris assaulted 15-year-old in public bathroom, feds allege
October 13, 2020
Federal prosecutors say “Cheer” star Jerry Harris has “exploited and violated” at least 10 boys, “exhibits all the signs of a serial child predator” and should stay behind bars.
They also allege that Harris sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy in an unlocked public bathroom at a cheer event “with other individuals coming and going” — suggesting either that he “wanted to be caught or he simply cannot control his impulses.”
The claims appear in a nine-page memo filed Tuesday ahead of a detention hearing for Harris, who was arrested by the FBI nearly a month ago and charged with production of child pornography. The memo also alleges that Harris destroyed his cellphone upon learning of the investigation — and then continued to “victimize minor boys” with a new one.
Harris, 21, is being held at the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, prison records show.
Though the original criminal complaint filed against Harris alleged that he had admitted having anal and oral sex with a 15-year-old at a cheer event last year, Tuesday’s memo from Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parente adds new detail and says law enforcement has interviewed the victim. It also hints that more criminal charges could be filed against Harris.
Last month’s complaint also alleged that the Netflix docuseries star tried to persuade another minor to engage in oral sex with him at cheerleading events, solicited a third minor for sex, and sought and received child pornography on Snapchat from 10 to 15 others he knew were underage.
Harris is scheduled to appear for a detention hearing Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather McShain. Parente’s memo suggests Harris’ legal team will be proposing Harris be monitored by multiple third-party custodians cycling in and out of his home. Harris’ lawyer Todd Pugh did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment, though.
Parente wrote that Harris has admitted to having between five and 10 victims. Pointing to the alleged assault of the 15-year-old in the public bathroom during a cheer event, Parente wrote that house arrest with dedicated third-party custodians is “simply not enough to protect the community from this child predator.”
“The brazenness that someone needs to exhibit in order to sexually assault a child in an unlocked public bathroom indicates again either Harris simply cannot control his criminal impulses which make him a poor candidate for release or he simply wants to get caught,” Parente wrote.
In a nod to Harris’ apparent release proposal, Parente also wrote that prosecutors are not comforted “that this is a person who will somehow be controlled by a group of cheer moms agreeing to stay in a home with him.”
“If a full gymnasium of cheer mom and dads is not enough to deter Harris from committing these crimes, a single cheer mom will have no chance at protecting the community from Harris,” Parente wrote.