Netflix ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris sued by minors who accuse him of sexual misconduct
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Just one day after the FBI executed a search warrant on the home of “Cheer” star Jerry Harris in Naperville, Ill., the reality show standout is now being hit with a lawsuit from twin boys in Texas.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed to Fox News that the bureau was conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in Harris' neighborhood. USA Today reported Monday that the feds were investigating Harris for soliciting sexually explicit photos and sex from minors.
A lawsuit filed Monday in Texas against Harris and three cheer organizations said the boys' mother reported Harris to the FBI last month. It claims Harris sent the twins sexually explicit photos and videos of himself and accuses him of cornering one boy in a bathroom at a cheer competition and begging for oral sex.
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Jerry Harris attends the Build Series to discuss "Cheer" at Build Studio on Jan. 29, 2020, in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images)
The boys’ mother told USA Today that both boys have spoken to the FBI.
The FBI said in a statement provided to the Associated Press that policy prevented the agency from commenting on “the existence or nonexistence of any investigations that may be occurring.”
Harris, 21, was a breakout star of the Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” which followed the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as they sought a national title.
A rep for Harris did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. Netflix had no comment when reached by Fox News.
In a statement to TMZ on Monday, a spokesperson for Harris said: "We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is complete the true facts will be revealed."
Harris, who has not been criminally charged, did not respond to a request for comment from USA Today. Attempts by The Associated Press to find a phone number for Harris were not immediately successful Tuesday.
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In addition to accusing Harris of sexual misconduct, the lawsuit accuses cheer organizations of failing to protect the boys. The organizations named in the lawsuit are U.S. All Star Federation, which governs competitive cheerleading; Varsity Spirit, which puts on competitions; and the Cheer Athletics, a chain of gyms.
The lawsuit says the boys’ mother reported Harris to USASF, Varsity and Cheer Athletics. The lawsuit also says that she called Fort Worth police as well as the FBI.
USASF did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the AP on Tuesday.
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Varsity said it couldn't comment on an active law enforcement investigation and said it was continuing to cooperate with authorities.
A Varsity official, in Aug. 1 letters to police in Florida and Texas, said the organization had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris, USA TODAY reported.
Cheer Athletics owner Angela Rogers told the newspaper that Harris hasn't been affiliated with the gym since March 1. She said that she learned of the allegations against him in mid-May and reported them to police.
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“Cheer” was an instant success when it was released in January, and Harris drew fans for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk.” Earlier this year, he interviewed celebrities on the Oscar's red carpet for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The lawsuit said that when the boys met Harris at a cheer competition in 2018, he was already well-known in cheerleading circles.
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In interviews with USA TODAY at their Texas home, the boys —now 14— described a pattern of harassment both online and at cheer competitions, which began when they were 13 and Harris was 19. They said it continued for over a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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