“Cheer” coach Monica Aldama said she is “devastated by this shocking, unexpected news” following the Thursday arrest of her co-star Jerry Harris on the charge that he enticed a 13-year-old boy to send him explicit photos and videos.
“My heart is shattered into a million pieces,” wrote Aldama on Instagram. “I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news. Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I’m praying hard for the victims and everyone affected. Please respect our privacy as our family mourns during this heartbreaking time.”
Harris, 21, was arrested in Chicago on Thursday. He faces one count of producing child pornography.
According to the complaint, Harris had in Dec. 2018 began contacting a 13-year-old boy on Snapchat, and the two exchanged explicit photos until the relationship ended in March 2020. Harris confirmed the photo exchange to authorities on Monday.
Harris additionally admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old at a 2019 cheerleading event.
Harris and his “Cheer” co-stars had surged in popularity after the premiere of the six-episode Netflix docuseries, which followed their lives as Navarro College cheerleaders in Corsicana, Texas. Harris quickly became a fan favorite, covering the Oscars red carpet for Ellen DeGeneres and getting endorsement deals with Panera Bread, American Eagle and other companies.
Per a statement from a Netflix spokesperson on Thursday, “Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”