Jerry Harris, the 21-year-old star of the Netflix series “Cheer,” has pleaded not guilty to federal child pornography charges and to soliciting sex with minors.
Mr. Harris was arrested by the FBI at his Naperville, Illinois home on September 17 on a child pornography charge and has since been held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
He faces seven counts relating to five underage boys, including four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of receiving and attempting to receive child pornography, one count of travel with attempt to have sex with a minor and a head of seduction. The acts took place in Florida, Illinois and Texas, according to the indictment.
Mr. Harris entered his plea in a telephone arraignment hearing in federal court in Chicago on December 17, court records show.
If found guilty, all four counts of sexual exploitation and the charge of child pornography carry a sentence of at least 15 years each in prison, and the charge of incitement to a minimum of 10 years. .
In a voluntary interview with FBI officials in September, Mr Harris admitted that he had exchanged sexually explicit photos on Snapchat with at least 10 to 15 people he knew to be underage, had had sex with a youngster from 15-year-old in a cheerleading competition in 2019 and paid a 17-year-old to send him nude photos.
Lawyers for Mr Harris had filed for interim release in October, arguing his previously blank case did not merit continued detention and would not pose a danger to the community. But a judge denied it on October 16.
No test date has been set.
Todd Pugh, Mr. Harris’s attorney, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Cheer,” which won an Emmy for Outstanding Unstructured Reality TV Series in September, follows a national champion cheerleading team from Navarro College, a junior college in a small town in Texas.