Oct. 17 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Chicago has ordered that Cheer star Jeremiah "Jerry" Harris remain in jail as he awaits trial on child pornography charges, saying he could be a danger to society if released.
U.S. District Court Judge Heather McShain said Harris, 21, is unable to control his urges and should remain incarcerated until his trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
Defense lawyers asked the judge for Harris to be released and placed under house arrest with supervision by four women he met within the cheerleading community.
"This cheer community is the very community from which defendant chose his victims," McShain said during a telephone hearing. "It's within this cheer community, and the status the defendant held in that cheer community, that gave him access to and the ability to coerce and manipulate his young victims, who were impressionable minors, some of whom were as young as 13."
Harris was arrested last month after allegedly admitting 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.
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.
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.