Teen twins who accused 'Cheer' star Jerry Harris of sexual abuse say they don't regret going to the FBI with their accusations despite being ostracized by the cheer community

·6 min read
Jerry Harris
Jerry Harris attends the Build Series to discuss "Cheer" at Build Studio on January 29, 2020 in New York City.Jim Spellman/Getty Images
  • The twins who accused Jerry Harris of sexual abuse appeared on "Cheer" season two.

  • Both Sam and Charlie said they do not regret going to the FBI about Harris.

  • Reps for Harris and USASF didn't respond to requests for comment.

Season two of "Cheer" devoted an entire episode to discussing former Navarro cheerleader Jerry Harris' child-pornography charges and included interviews from the teenage twins who accused Harris of sexual abuse. In the episode, the twins say that they both have no regrets about reporting their alleged experiences with the celebrity cheerleader to the FBI.

Netflix's "Cheer" centers on Navarro College's competitive cheerleading squad out of Corsicana, Texas, as the team of athletes prepares for a national title. Harris was a breakout star of season one, later interviewing celebrities, walking red carpets, and even appearing on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show."

In the season two episode titled "Jerry," Sam and Charlie, whose last names were withheld because they are minors, revealed why they had come forward with their allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of Harris, who's denied the claims through his attorney.

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Sam and Charlie said their mother, Kristen, helped them come forward about Harris' alleged abuse against them.

Sam said on "Cheer" that once they shared their alleged experiences, one boy at their gym "completely lost his temper... threw a fit at the gym and quit because he didn't want anything to do with me and Charlie speaking out about this and he didn't want to be tied to the situation."

Charlie added on the docuseries that, after he spoke out with his brother, "pretty much all sense of community was ripped away" from them in cheerleading. He described feeling "terrible" at competitions when he and his brother would enter a hallway and "everyone would just be staring at us, pointing at us, and just be whispering" to the point that it made them feel "uncomfortable" and "isolated."

But both Charlie and Sam said on "Cheer" that they don't have any regrets about speaking out about their alleged experiences and said that they would come forward again despite their negative experiences within cheerleading.

"I want to be the start of the change in cheer," said Charlie.

The twins' mother had helped her sons tell their story to the FBI

Cheer Season 2
"Cheer" season 2.Netflix

The twins' mother Kristen alleged on the "Jerry" episode that she eventually found explicit Snapchat messages on Charlie's phone from Harris and took action to report the behavior when her sons felt comfortable.

Charlie recalled on the episode that Harris first contacted him through Instagram in December 2018. Upon learning that the cheerleader was 13, "Right off the bat he asked me, 'Can I have butt pics?' or 'Can you send butt pics?'" Charlie said on "Cheer."

When the two later met in person at the ACA Championships in 2019, Charlie said on "Cheer" that he tried to avoid Harris, who later convinced him to go into a bathroom with him.

Charlie said when they were alone, "Jerry cornered me into the bathroom stall and basically was just like begging me, just continually pleading with me to just like have sex with him."

The teen refused and left the bathroom, he said.

Harris did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Kristen said in an interview on "Cheer" that Sam and Charlie were hesitant to file reports at first because she became aware of Charlie and Sam's correspondence with Harris "at the very height of Jerry's popularity."

Charlie said it wasn't until June 2020 when he saw Harris talking with President Joe Biden on Instagram that he finally "lost it," telling his mom, "I want to do something about this."

The twins said on "Cheer" that their schoolwork suffered before they came forward. Sam described "feeling these odd emotions I've never felt before" and "feeling so sad" and "angry" about his alleged experiences with Harris.

When her sons felt comfortable sharing their stories, Kristen said she contacted Angela Rogers, co-owner of the Cheer Athletics gym where Harris frequently made appearances. Kristen said Rogers was "skeptical" of her, so she reported Harris' alleged behavior with her sons to the US All-Star Federation via their website. (USASF is the organization that governs competitive cheer and dance in the country facilitated by independent gyms "by establishing fair and consistent rules and competition standards" and maintaining a "safe environment for our athletes," per the USASF site).

Kristen said that she made two reports to the USASF within "eight or nine" weeks of each other and both were ignored.

In a statement to Insider, Rogers wrote: "We're saddened that my response was received as anything but immediate, as the incident was brought that same week to the Plano, Waco and Frisco Texas Police Departments, with official report filings accepted within days by the Texas Child Protective Services and the sport governing authority (the USASF)."

US All-Star Federation did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Kristen said she reported Harris directly to the FBI in early August 2020 after Sam and Charlie said they realized anonymous reporting through cheerleading institutions wasn't working. Only then was swift action taken, according to Kristen.

The FBI began investigating Harris in 2020

Oprah and the cast of
Jerry Harris made an appearance at Oprah Winfrey's " 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus" tour stop in February 2020.SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI reportedly began an investigation into the accusations against Harris in September 2020 when then-unnamed accusers (later revealed to be Sam and Charlie) came forward with allegations that Harris "solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors," according to USA Today.

In mid-September 2020, Harris was arrested and charged with "production of child-pornography," Insider's entertainment correspondent Kim Renfro reported. A lawsuit was also filed on behalf of Charlie and Sam at that time. More charges were filed by other victims in subsequent months and by December 2020, Harris was charged with a total of "seven counts regarding five minors," according to USA Today.

A rep for Harris pushed back on the initial charges.

"We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," a spokesperson for Harris said in a September 2020 statement to Variety, responding to the initial allegations of sexual abuse. "We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed."

Harris pleaded not guilty to multiple felony charges in December 2020, per The New York Times.

"Cheer" season two is available to stream now on Netflix.

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