UPDATE: ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris arrested for allegedly producing child pornography

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2020 file photo, Greta Gerwig, right, talks to Jerry Harris on the red carpet at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Harris, the star of the Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” was arrested Thursday, Sept. 17 on child pornography charges. (AP Photo/John Locher File)

Credit: John Locher

Credit: John Locher

Lawsuit has been filed against Harris and companies that employed him

Celebrity cheerleader Jerry Harris has been arrested on production of child pornography charges in a Chicago court, according to reports.

The 21-year-old, who has been in the spotlight since being featured on Netflix’s new docuseries “Cheer,” has been accused of soliciting sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. He was arrested in federal court Thursday, according to information obtained from the U.S. Attorney’s Office by the Chicago Sun-Times.

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“The FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in the area,” Siobhan Johnson, FBI special agent and public affairs officer, told USA TODAY.

The criminal investigation is based on allegations brought by twin brothers, who are 14. The boys described to the publication a pattern of harassment via social media and at cheer competitions. The harassment allegedly began when the twins were 13 and Harris was 19. They said it continued for more than a year.

A lawsuit was filed Monday in Tarrant County District Court in Texas detailing the allegations against Harris. Along with their mother, the twin boys filed suit against Harris, Varsity, Cheer Athletics — a chain of gyms that includes locations in Dallas, Plano, Frisco and Austin — and the U.S. All Star Federation, which oversees competitive cheerleading. The lawsuit accuses Harris of sexual misconduct and the groups of negligence.

In one alleged incident, detailed in the suit, Harris pressured one of the boys for sex in a bathroom at the American Cheerleaders Association’s national competition in Fort Worth in February 2019.

In Aug. 1 letters to police in Florida and Texas, Varsity’s Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart said the company had learned of “inappropriate sexual conduct” allegations against Harris and was reporting the information to authorities as required by law.

“As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future,” he wrote.

In a statement to Variety on Monday night, a spokesperson for Harris said, “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”