Jerry Harris, star of the Netflix docuseries Cheer, has pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges. Harris is accused of soliciting sex from minors, among other charges.
According to legal docs obtained by ET, the 21-year-old reality star did not physically appear in court on Thursday, but entered a not guilty plea to seven charges in total, including four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of receiving of child pornography, one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor, and one count of enticement.
If convicted, each of the sexual exploitation charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years, while the enticement charge carries a minimum of 10 years.
Harris was arrested on child pornography charges in September and has remained in custody ever since. According to the criminal complaint obtained by ET at the time, Harris allegedly contacted an underage boy on social media, who he knew was 13 years old, and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself, and send them to Harris.
When the FBI raided Harris’ Naperville home on Sept. 14, he admitted to agents in a voluntary interview that he had solicited lewd images and sex from the boy on numerous occasions, knowing that he was 13 years old, per the complaint.
In October, federal prosecutors filed a motion asking the judge to keep Harris detained as he awaits his trial. In the court documents obtained by ET at the time, prosecutors argued Harris demonstrated that he “does not care about being caught committing his offenses, or simply cannot stop himself,” and stated that house arrest was not enough to prevent Harris from reaching out to any other minor.
According to the documents, Harris allegedly sent and requested inappropriate photos from multiple minors for over two years. Prosecutors alleged that Harris also sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy at a public cheer event after following him into a bathroom. Per the doc, Harris also allegedly offered minors substantial sums of money to perform sexually explicit conduct, and that Harris admitted to making many attempts to meet minors that he met online in person.
Meanwhile, Harris’ lawyers stated that he should be released pending trial because the nature and circumstances of his offense were not persuasive enough to merit his retention, his previous character does not support the government’s position that he’s a dangerous child predator, and that there were sufficient conditions to assure he’s not a danger to any person or community.
On Oct. 16, Harris’ motion for pretrial release was denied by the court. The court found that “there is no condition or combination of conditions to reasonably assure the safety of the community [should Harris be released].”
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