Cheer Star Jerry Harris Arrested on Federal Child Pornography Charge

Jerry Harris, the star of the Netflix docuseries Cheer, has been arrested on a federal charge for allegedly producing child pornography.

A statement from federal officials confirms that Harris, 21, was formally charged in Chicago on Thursday, and alleges the Naperville man was arrested today "for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself."

Harris, the statement alleges, "contacted the underage boy on a social media application and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself and send them to Harris, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old, the complaint states."

Harris will appear before a judge at 2:00 p.m. local time.

Production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.

The news comes just days after two underage twin brothers filed a lawsuit against Harris for allegedly sexually abusing them and demanding nude photographs from them.

The suit, filed Monday in Texas and obtained by PEOPLE, states the plaintiffs are both competitive cheerleaders who first met Harris in 2018, when they were 13.

It was not clear Thursday if the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, both twins, are the alleged victims in the pending criminal case against Harris, who are also both twins.

The suit alleges he leveraged his prominence in the cheerleading community to groom the two for abuse.

"Plaintiffs were 'star struck,' as Harris was already a known All-Star Cheer personality, icon and coach within the state and nationally," the suit states.

A spokesperson for Harris told PEOPLE on Monday, "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."

The suit accuses Harris of befriending the boys via social media before demanding nude photographs from them soon after. It further alleges he would repeatedly ask them about their sexual experiences, saying that he "exploited the fact that Plaintiffs were openly gay."

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The suit further alleges Harris "closed himself in a stall" with one of the boys in 2019, and "started demanding and begging that [the alleged victim] perform oral sex" on him.

The FBI conducted a raid on Harris' home earlier this week.

Harris rose to fame on Cheer, a docuseries that follows Texas' Navarro College competitive cheerleading team. Harris, a star on the team, was known for his positive demeanor and the way he inspired teammates.

A representative for Harris could not be reached at press time.

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