"My heart is shattered into a million pieces."
In the wake of the stunning charges against one of her athletes, Cheer coach Monica Aldama addressed Harris’ arrest and said she was “devastated” about the news in a statement. Sharing a statement on Instagram, Aldama asked for privacy to be extended to the Navarro Cheer family during this "heartbreaking time."
A breakout star from the Netflix cheerleading docuseries Cheer, Harris was arrested and charged with producing child pornography on Thursday, Sept. 17. Bustle reached out to reps for the TV star after his arrest, but did not receive an immediate response. According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, Harris, 21, has been charged with allegedly soliciting sexually explicit videos and photographs, as well as oral sex, from an underaged boy. A spokesperson for the athlete disputed the claims in a statement days before his arrest. "We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager," Harris’ spokesperson said on Monday. "We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed."
"My heart is shattered into a million pieces," Aldama’s statement read. "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." A spokesperson for Netflix also issued a statement to PEOPLE on Thursday, saying, "Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process."
Early Friday morning, Navarro Cheer released a statement on Instagram nearly identical to Aldama’s. While Harris’ fellow cheerleaders haven’t directly addressed his arrest, Cheer stars Allie Ross, Mackenzie Sherburn, and TT Barker have re-shared Navarro Cheer’s statement on their respective Instagram Stories.
In the wake of the charges, Harris has been suspended from participating in U.S. All Star Federation events and cheerleading competitions, per USA Today. The Cheer star recently inked endorsements with Walmart and Cheerios, too, but a spokesperson for General Mills, the company that owns Cheerios, confirmed to the publication on Monday that it had suspended its partnership with Harris.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.
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