the law

Cheer’s Jerry Harris Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Two Minors

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

Two teenage brothers have come forward with sexual-misconduct allegations against Cheer’s Jerry Harris, accusing him of sending them sexually explicit messages when they were around 13 years old — with one claiming that the Netflix star tried pressuring him into oral sex, according to reports and court documents.

USA Today first reported on these sexual-misconduct allegations. The newspaper also reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating Harris, saying agents conducted a search of his Naperville, Illinois, residence on Monday. Harris has not been charged with any crime.

“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” a spokesperson for Harris said. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.” The spokesperson did not elaborate on the type of investigation.

The twin boys, who publicly identified themselves as Charlie and Sam to USA Today, filed a lawsuit in Tarrant County, Texas, court on Monday detailing their allegations. The boys are listed as John HS Doe and John HC Doe on court papers. An attorney on this lawsuit confirmed to Vulture that these plaintiffs are the same two accusers who spoke with USA Today, which first reported on their suit.

According to the suit, Harris “befriended” these boys in 2018 at a national cheer competition “both in person and via social media platforms” — when he was an adult.

Harris, using his “position of authority and prominence,” asked for the “starstruck” boys’ phone numbers and social-media-account names. Soon thereafter, Harris started “grooming” them with texts and social-media messages that quickly turned “sexual in nature” — such as his requesting “booty pics,” court papers state.

When the boys were around 13 or 14 years old, Harris “would repeatedly hug” them at cheer competitions. Harris’s misconduct progressed further, as he “exploited the fact that Plaintiffs were openly gay,” the suit further claimed. When they were around 13 or 14, Harris messaged them demanding that they “‘send nudes,’ expressly demand that these young boys send Harris child pornography, including pictures of their naked bodies, penises and buttocks.”

Because of the “manipulation” and their trust in Harris as a mentor, they “often reluctantly complied with Harris’s demands,” the suit stated.

“Harris would also send sexually explicit photos and videos of himself to Plaintiffs, including, but not limited to photographs of Harris’s penis and body as well as videos of Harris masturbating himself,” the suit claimed. He also messaged them trying to meet in “secluded locations at various competitions, soliciting sexual conduct with these boys.”

In May 2019, Harris texted one saying, “Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good.” Another time, Harris said, “Would you ever want to ****,” court papers contend.

At a national competition in Fort Worth in February 2019, Harris allegedly told one of the boys to “follow him to a secluded bathroom.” The boy, whom USA Today said was Charlie, “reluctantly complied,” to avoid a scene.

In the bathroom, Harris “closed himself in a stall with [Charlie] … and started demanding and begging that [Charlie] perform oral sex on Harris. Despite [Charlie] refusing to submit to Harris’s demands, Harris continued to plead with [Charlie] for oral sex,” court papers said.

“Eventually, because Harris would not stop demanding oral sex, [Charlie] ran out of the bathroom and rejoined the rest of his teammates,” the suit said. They boys said they eventually learned that Harris “has multiple victims of his sexual exploitations throughout the cheer community.”

The boys’ mother allegedly found Harris’s messages in February. She reported the alleged misconduct to Fort Worth, Texas, police on July 10, 2020, and the FBI on August 8, 2020. “As of the date of this Petition, Plaintiffs are informed and believe and thereon allege that there exist open police and FBI investigations of Harris and Entity Defendants,” court papers state.

Asked for comment, an FBI spokesperson initially said, “Department of Justice policy prevents the FBI from commenting on the existence or nonexistence of any investigations that may be occurring. There is no further information at this time.”

When Vulture pointed out that USA Today quoted her as saying, “The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area,” she replied, “I can confirm that statement is accurate, but not any connection to any specific individual.”

Cheer’s Jerry Harris Accused of Sexual Misconduct With Minor