Cheer star Jerry Harris pleaded not guilty on Thursday, December 17, to federal felony charges of sharing explicit photos with minors and trying to lure minors for sex.
The 21-year-old entered his plea on Thursday, but he was not physically present in court. Harris 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, Us Weekly reported.
If convicted of sexual exploitation of children, Harris could face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, while the enticement charge has a minimum of 10 years in prison and the receipt of child pornography has a minimum of five years in jail.
The reality star was arrested in September in a police raid and was accused of producing child pornography when he allegedly solicited nude pictures from a 13-year-old boy he met on Snapchat in 2018.
The police raid was the result of a federal probe, which was sparked by a $1 million civil lawsuit filed against Harris by twin brothers who accused the Netflix star of sexual misconduct and abuse when they were 13 years old and Harris was 19. The boys said that Harris harassed them both in-person and online.
Harris is said to have asked one of the twins to have sex with him. "Do it naked and take a video and show me," he said, in response to an image of the boy stretching his legs.
Cheerleading company Varsity Brands reported Harris to the police after he allegedly asked one of the twins to have sex with him at two Varsity competitions in 2019. Varsity chief legal officer Burton Brillhart wrote that they had "barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future."
At the time, a spokesperson for Harris told Us Weekly: "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 completed the true facts will be revealed."
Harris rose to fame after the debut of Cheer on Netflix, which is a docuseries that aired in January about a cheer squad in Navarro College, Texas.
In September, Navarro Cheer wrote: "Our hearts are shattered into a million pieces. We are devastated by this shocking, unexpected news. Our children must be protected from abuse & exploitation, & we are praying hard for the victims and everyone affected. Please respect our privacy as our family mourns together."