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'Cheer' star arrested on child pornography charges

Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Authorities in Illinois arrested Jeremiah "Jerry" Harris, star of the reality show Cheer, on Thursday on allegations he asked for and received sexually explicit photos and videos of a minor.

Harris, 21, was set to appear Thursday afternoon in federal court in Chicago on one count of producing child pornography.

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The U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Illinois said Harris admitted to asking a 13-year-old boy to send him nude images between December 2018 and March 2020.

Investigators were tipped off to the alleged crimes after the mother of the minor said she found the explicit photos on her child's cellphone and confronted him about it. She said her son's Snapchat account also contained explicit photos and videos of Harris.

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The minor told police that in addition to Harris requesting the images, the older man also solicited sexual encounters from the minor twice when they both attended the same cheerleading competitions. The teen said he refused those advances.

Investigators said Harris was aware of the boy's age when he asked him for nude images.

Harris also allegedly asked for images of the minor's underage brother, though the child refused.

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If found guilty, Harris faces 15 years to 30 years in prison.

Harris appeared in the Netflix series Cheer about the cheerleading program at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. The show earned two Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program and Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program. It also won Outstanding Achievement in Reality Programming at the Television Critics Association Awards.

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