UPDATED 10/16, 3:55 p.m. ET: Jerry Harris will remain locked up until further notice.
According to TMZ, a Cook County judge denied Harris' request for bond as he awaits trial on child pornography charges. Texas prosecutors pushed for the 22-year-old to stay behind bars, claiming he exhibited a pattern of predatory behavior and posed a threat to the public. Harris allegedly admitted to soliciting and accepting lewd images from underage boys, and is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old during a cheer event.
"I find that the defendant's release would pose a significant danger to the community," U.S. District Judge Heather McShain said Friday. She went on to add, "The defendant was not a child, he was an adult. He was 19, 20, 21 years old. His victims were as young as 13 years old. He held status in the cheerleading community and he used that to manipulate and exploit these minor and vulnerable young boys."
See original story below.
Federal prosecutors are requesting Jerry Harris remain behind bars until his trial on child pornography charges. They argue the 21-year-old Cheer star is a clear danger to the community because he "exhibits all the signs of a serial child predator."
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the feds made the allegations in a nine-page memo filed Tuesday, ahead of a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Heather McShain. Prosecutors say Harris, who was arrested last month for producing child pornography, had admitted to soliciting and accepting lewd images from at least 10 boys whom he knew were underage. He is also accused of offering the children "substantial sums of money, sometime over $1,000," to perform sexual acts for him via Snapchat or FaceTime. Harris initially denied the allegations of child exploitation in statements to the media.
The memo, penned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Parente, also alleged Harris had sexually assaulted a 15-year-old boy in an unlocked public restroom during a 2019 cheer event. Authorities reportedly interviewed the victim, and said Harris had been "grooming" the boy since he was 13.
"Harris' sexual assault of this boy in such a public place, in an unlocked public bathroom, during an event attended by dozens of responsible adults demonstrates that Harris either does not care about being caught committing his offenses, or simply cannot stop himself," the memo stated.
Harris has not been charged in connection to the alleged sexual assault.
The memo also states Harris had been tipped off about the investigation from a gym owner who was interviewed by authorities. After learning about the case, Harris allegedly destroyed his phone and purchased a new one to continue to target other boys.
If convicted of the federal child pornography count, Harris will face a minimum sentence of 15 years behind bars.