On Wednesday Jerry Harris, star of the Netflix series “Cheer" was denied bond after his lawyers stood before the judge and suggested that Mr. Harris should move to home detention while he waits for trial.
According to The New York Times, the motion included that Mr. Harris has asthma and if he stays at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, he is at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus. Harris has been in custody since September 17 of this year after being arrested by the FBI and charged in the federal court of Chicago for production of child pornography.
Back in September, the mother of the male victims filed a lawsuit in Texas against Harris and the Cheer Athletics gym at which Harris cheered with the victims. The minors recall Harris of sexual misconduct and the cheer organizations of negligence and failures to protect the boys from abuse. Today, the mother argues what could happen if he was released on bail.
"[It's] very, very important that Mr. Harris be kept in custody until he stands trial...It really terrifies me to think that another child can be harmed if he is released...Mr. Harris should not be residing in a home, sleeping in a comfortable bed and being taken care of by a group of cheer moms while my children are paying a very high price for telling the truth,” said one of the mothers during the hearing.
In September, nine law enforcement agents spent three hours in Harris' home. The warrant was made out to the "Cheer" star who allegedly solicited sex from minors. The case involved two twin brothers at 13 when Harris was 19 at the time. He allegedly sent messages asking for pictures and seeking sex. The screenshots were released by USA Today.
A complaint made public by the Department of Justice shared that Harris admitted to "soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors."
In another criminal complaint, Harris also admitted to offering a minor "$2,000 to $3,000" for nudes; tried to solicit oral sex from a 13-year-old in a bathroom; asked the 13-year-old's twin if he wanted to "f---"; and admitted to engaging in anal and oral sex with a 15-year-old.
After seeing the evidence, a motion, filed by prosecutors, read that he “exploited and violated at least 10 minor boys.” Soon after, prosecutors argued that if he comes home, even “third-party custodians” would not be sufficient to prevent him resuming contact with minors.
Under the federal law (18 U.S.C. §2252) to produce, distribute, receive or possess any child pornography is illegal. In addition, searching for and viewing child pornography even if the images are subsequently destroyed or deleted is illegal. A person who is convicted of child pornography could face up to 5 to 20 years in prison.
Netflix responded to Jerry Harris Charges, "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process." The Hollywood Reporter reports Netflix has no plans to remove "Cheer" from its service.
Harris' attorney hasn't responded to any additional comments. According to NBC Chicago Harris will remain in U.S. Marshal custody after he waives his detention hearing until he can find a home to be released. He also waived his right to a preliminary hearing.