Harris, 21, has been accused of soliciting “sexually explicit videos and photos” from a 13-year-old using a social media app, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois confirmed in a press release Thursday.
“My heart is shattered into a million pieces,” Aldama, 50, wrote in a statement.
The “Dancing With the Stars” contestant continued: “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,” Aldama added in support of the alleged minor victim. “Please respect our privacy as our family mourns during this heartbreaking time.”
Her statement was also posted on Navarro College Cheer’s social media accounts.
Jerry Harris and Monica Aldama join host Zach Stafford at BuzzFeed’s “AM To DM” on January 30, 2020 in New York City.
(Manny Carabel/Getty Images)
The charge of production of child pornography carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.
“We are grateful that the U.S. Attorney and the FBI have taken swift action to protect children by investigating, arresting and charging Jerry Harris,” attorneys for the victim said in a statement. “We urge the authorities to undertake a thorough investigation of the United States All Star Federation, Varsity Spirit, and Cheer Athletics to determine which of their executives, employees, and representatives could have stopped Harris’ abuse and failed to do so.”
The charge comes just days after it was revealed that the FBI executed a search warrant on Harris’ home in Naperville, Ill.
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 FBI is conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in that area,” Siobhan Johnson, a special agent public affairs officer, told Fox News in a statement on Monday. However, the FBI would not elaborate on specifics and did not name Harris at the time.
A representative for Harris did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Thursday, but on Monday a spokesperson for the Netflix star told TMZ: “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 complete the true facts will be revealed.”
Jerry Harris, left, appears in ‘Cheer,’ a docuseries on Netflix that follows the competitive cheerleaders of Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
A Netflix spokesperson told Fox News in a statement on Thursday: “Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”
FOX News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.