'Cheer' star Jerry Harris appears in court by phone for child pornography case

Jerry Harris, the star of the Netflix documentary "Cheer," briefly appeared in federal court on Wednesday for his ongoing child pornography case. 

The Naperville native pleaded not guilty of soliciting sex and explicit photos from minors in December. He was heard confirming his presence in the telephone conference held on Wednesday.

Harris, 22, was joined by his attorneys and Judge Manish S. Shah in the Northern District of Illinois.


The purpose of the hearing was for lawyers to communicate the status of the case to the judge. Judge Shah informed attendees he's received a sealed status report from the defense and it will "remain under seal temporarily."

"I do conclude that sealing the status report is appropriate to give the defense what it needs in order to conduct its continuing pretrial investigation," Shah said.

The judge said the document will likely be unsealed in the future. The defense will continue its investigative steps, Shah said. The parties agreed to file a joint public status report on Oct. 6. A hearing may be scheduled at a later time, after 60 days from Wednesday, the judge said.

The allegations were brought on by twin brothers who say the harassment started when they were 13 and Harris was 19. 

The lawsuit said that when the boys met Harris at a cheer competition in 2018, he was already well-known in cheerleading circles. They connected via various social media platforms, and Harris asked them to send him nude photos, the lawsuit says. He also sent them sexually explicit photos and videos of himself, the lawsuit alleges.


The lawsuit says that in February 2019, Harris led one of the boys to a secluded bathroom at a national competition in Fort Worth and begged for oral sex. The lawsuit says the boy turned him down and left the bathroom.

Harris was arrested last September and is still behind bars.

Harris rose to fame when he was featured in the popular docuseries "Cheer," which debuted on Netflix in January and follows the competitive cheer squad at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as it mounts up for a national championship.

The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.