The sexual abuse allegations against breakout star Jerry Harris were openly addressed in the second season of Cheer; The mother of the accusers spoke to CBS 2

Chicago (CBS) — “Cheer” was a well-deserved show about college cheerleading, but child sex abuse allegations against Naperville breakout star Jerry Harris changed the way viewers watched the show.


The second season of the Netflix show just dropped on Wednesday. In it, you’ll hear from two of Harris’ accusers—and their mother—who spoke with CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra.

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“Cheer” was a juggernaut in its first season. On its return, the dark and dangerous cloud hanging over the show has been addressed.

In 2020, breakout star Harris was indicted on charges of child pornography and soliciting minors for sex. The investigation leads to a search of their Illinois home—sparked by a Texas mother named Kristen, whose sons are two of her alleged victims.


“It’s not only a few times that this has happened,” Kristen said. “He was an incredibly persistent hunter who forced himself to be at the center of my son’s life for over a year.”

In episode 5, titled “Jerry”, his boys abuse what they say came via messaging.

“I told him I was 13, and then – right off the bat – he asked me, ‘Can I have butt pics?’ or ‘Can you send butt pics?'” says one of the boys.


Those complaints were at the center of federal prosecutors’ initial case against Harris.

According to those allegations, Harris contacted the twin underage boys on social media apps, and repeatedly asked them to make sexually explicit videos and pictures of themselves and send them to Harris. One of the boys agreed to send Harris his nude photos and videos, but the other refused.

A federal complaint says the boy who sent the images informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13 years old.


The victims’ mothers tipped federal agents, who found pornographic images and text messages with Harris on one of her phones. The boy told the mother that Harris had asked for pictures. The boy said he had sent Harris more than a dozen photos of his genitals, and that Harris had sent similar photos of himself to the boy, the complaint alleges.

Court documents showed a text exchange where prosecutors said Harris messaged the boy and asked for photos, including “robbed” pictures.

Prosecutors also showed a young boy holding a cheerleading position, known as “Needle.” He said a Snapchat account using Harris’ name asked for a video to be taken of and showing the child naked.

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In an interview with investigators, Harris admitted to soliciting photos via Snapchat between December 2018 and March 2020, the complaint said. The kid is a competitive cheerleader who also met Harris at a cheer event where Harris asked for oral sex, according to the complaint. The boy refused.

The allegations also accused Harris of sending text messages to both boys, soliciting them for sex, but the boys refused.

Since then, four more alleged victims have been added – and more charges stem from Naperville, Texas and Orlando.

Investigators said Harris admitted to soliciting and receiving explicit pictures from 10 to 14 children whom he knew were minors — right when he himself was 18.

Mother Kristen said, “It’s finally an opportunity for him to speak from a stage that his teammates will watch and tell their story.”

Attorney Sarah Klein represents the family in their civil case.

“There’s more to this story,” Klein said.

The civil case also focuses on what they call a lack of response from the cheerleading community when Kristen first reported the abuse.

“You’d think in a ‘me too’ culture, he just had to raise his hand once,” Klein said. “He did not.”

He hopes “Cheer” from season two will keep the extra attention pressure.

“We just want to make sure people don’t look away from the issue before the change happens,” Kristen said.

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We reached out to Harris’ attorney for comment but did not get revert. He is now 22 years old and behind bars in federal custody awaiting his trial in Chicago.

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