The reality star, 21, entered his plea on Thursday, December 17, though he did not physically appear in court. He pleaded not guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of enticement, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of travel with the intent to engage in an illicit sexual contact with a minor.
Each of the sexual exploitation of children counts carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment if convicted. The enticement charge carries a minimum of 10 years in prison, and the receipt of child pornography count carries a minimum of five years behind bars.
Us Weekly confirmed that Harris was arrested in September on production of child pornography charges. USA Today reported earlier that month that he was under investigation by the FBI in connection to claims that he “solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.”
A spokesperson for the TV personality denied the allegations in a statement to Us at the time. “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” the statement read. “We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”
Twin brothers alleged to USA Today in September that Harris harassed them online and in-person at cheer competitions when they were 13 years old. The college student would have been 19 at the time.
Varsity Brands, a company within the cheerleading industry, reported Harris to police after he allegedly asked one of the brothers to have sex with him at two of Varsity’s competitions in 2019. The brand’s chief legal officer, Burton Brillhart, wrote letters to authorities in Florida and Texas, pointing out that the company “barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future.”
Harris became a breakout star after appearing on the popular Cheer docuseries, which premiered on Netflix in January and followed the Navarro College cheerleading squad from Texas.
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