Netflix’s “Cheer” documentary coach and star Monica Aldama on Friday spoke on the arrest of former Navarro College cheerleader Jerry Harris on charges of making child pornography.
Aldama wrote, “My heart is shattered into a million pieces.” Instagram posts Friday morning. She is currently competing on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” against contestants including “Tiger King” star Carol Beskin.
“I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news,” she continued. “Our children should be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I am praying hard for the victims and all those affected. Please respect our privacy as a lament to our family during this heart-wrenching time. “
On Thursday, Harris’ arrest was confirmed by the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago, Illinois. He was scheduled to appear in Chicago court later that day.
Reps has denied charges for Harris, 21, including sending sexually explicit messages to minors, sending nude pictures to minors, and requesting oral sex from a 13-year-old boy.
“We explicitly dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris for allegedly being a teenager,” Harris’s delegation said on Monday. “We are confident that when the investigation is complete the true facts will be revealed.”
The first public charges against Harris came from a pair of twin brothers, whose lawyers filed a child sexual abuse lawsuit on their behalf. The alleged abuse occurred when the boys, 13 years old, were participating in cheerleading competitions, in which Harris participated as an instructor, mentor, trainer in association with the USASF, The university Spirit, and Cheer Athletics. The boys, who remain anonymous in suits, are now 14; Harris would have been between 19 and 20 at the time of events between December 2018 and March of this year.
Earlier this week the FBI investigated homes in Naperville and Crystal Lake in Harris’ home state of Illinois. Variety, a private cheerleading company involved in organizing competitions and selling uniforms, was involved in alerting police against Harris and cooperating in the investigation. Read more about the company’s involvement here.
The representative for Navarro College has not responded to a request for comment, but a Netflix spokesperson told TheWrap on Thursday: “Like everyone, we are surprised by this news. Any misconduct of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process. “