This does not look good, Cheer fans.
The FBI is investigating former Navarro cheerleader Jerry Harris for allegedly solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. According to a new report in USA Today, agents executed a search warrant on Monday at a home in Harris’ native Illinois in conjunction with the investigation.
Harris, 21, was a fan favorite from the Emmy-nominated Netflix docuseries for his positive attitude and upbeat “mat talk.” After the show aired, his popularity led to appearances with Oprah and Stephen Colbert, and a gig interviewing celebs at the Oscars for The Ellen Degeneres Show. According to USA Today, he also filmed a video to promote voting with Vice President Joe Biden as recently as June.
FBI Special Agent and public affairs officer Siobhan Johnson released a statement on the investigation, saying:
“The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in that area. Department of Justice policy prevents the FBI from commenting on the existence or nonexistence of any investigations that may be occurring. There is no further information at this time.”
No charges have yet been filed against Harris, but incriminating messages have surfaced that appear to support the allegations. In one, a Snapchat of Harris’s face included the text, “Would you ever want to ****”. Another screenshot of a text conversation showed a message from a “jerry harris” that read:
“Hey btw I found a place for us to do stuff it’s actually pretty good haha.”
The investigation was apparently prompted by a report to police from Varsity Brands, the company that controls most aspects of competitive cheerleading. Varsity’s chief legal officer Burton Brillhart told authorities the company had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris and provided the aforementioned incriminating messages.
Harris posted about working for the National Cheerleaders Association, a Varsity brand, back in May 2019, and shared photos of himself coaching athletes at NCA camps that summer. Varsity’s report described Harris as a “former employee who was not working for Varsity at the time of the incidents,” per USA Today. Brillhart wrote in the report:
“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future.”
Journalist Tony Morrison of ABC News shared a statement from Harris’s spokesperson regarding the investigation on Twitter. It read:
“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.”
Oof. Whatever’s going on here seems very messy. And it’s all coming out on the same day his Navarro coach Monica Aldama is set to make her debut on Dancing With The Stars.
We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this situation as it develops…
[Image via Netflix/YouTube]