‘Cheer’ coach Monica Aldama says Jerry Harris, who’s charged with child pornography, hopes to be a motivational speaker one day

Monica Aldama and Jerry Harris
Monica Aldama and Jerry Harris. Netflix;Jim Spellman/Getty Images
  • “Cheer” season two directly addresses Jerry Harris’ arrest on child-pornography charges.
  • Navarro Cheer coach Monica Aldama said Harris wrote her a letter but “I haven’t written him back.”
  • “He said he hopes to one day be a motivational speaker,” Aldama said.

“Cheer” season two directly addresses the child-pornography charges against former Navarro cheerleader Jerry Harris, including how it impacted members of his former team as well as head coach Monica Aldama.

At the end of episode five, titled “Jerry,” Aldama, who leads Navarro College’s cheer team in Corsicana, Texas, reveals she received a letter from the former cheerleader, who was one of the breakout stars of “Cheer” season one.

Harris is currently being held without bond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago on “federal child pornography charges and accusations that he solicited sex from minors,” according to The New York Times. He pleaded not guilty. 

“He wrote me a letter and it was hard to read,” Aldama said during the episode, “which is why I haven’t written him back…’cause I don’t know what I would say.”

“I want to be supportive yet I’m so disappointed,” she continued, describing the tone of the letter as “optimistic.” 

The head coach then revealed that in her letter from Harris he wrote about his goals for the future. “He said he hopes to one day be a motivational speaker,” Aldama said.

“You know, there are people who are great motivational speakers who did horrible things and they came full circle and now they’re great motivational speakers. Maybe he sees himself as that — I don’t know,” she added in the docuseries.

Aldama admitted during the episode that she “was really caught off guard at the hope he had for the future” adding, “it’s sad and it makes me tear up every time I think about it.”

Harris was charged with the sexual exploitation of children in 2020

Navarro Cheer coach Monica Aldama, Jerry Harris, Navarro cheerleaders
Monica Aldama and Jerry Harris on ‘Today.’ Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Harris was reportedly under investigation by the FBI in September 2020 after it was alleged he solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from minors. He was later arrested and charged in federal court that month, Insider’s entertainment correspondent Kim Renfro previously reported. By December 2020, he was charged with a total of “seven counts regarding five minors,” according to USA Today

The new charges were not only related to “soliciting photos and sex from minors,” the newspaper said, but Harris was also charged with “persuading, inducing, and enticing a minor ‘to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and … transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct.'” 

A representative for Harris did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Back in September 2020, 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 statement at the time 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.”

Cheerleaders and twins Sam and Charlie (whose last names were withheld because they are minors), appeared on the same “Cheer” episode to detail their allegations against the now-22-year-old Harris. 

During the episode, Charlie said he first connected with a then-19-year-old Harris on Instagram when he was 13 years old.

“Right off the bat, he asked me, ‘Can I have butt pics?’ or ‘Can you send butt pics?'” he said during the episode.

Charlie said he agreed because he was ” blindsided” by Harris due to his “notoriety” and celebrity in the sport of 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.

It wasn’t until after the bathroom incident that Charlie told his twin brother Sam what had happened, he said during the “Cheer” episode.

“And then Jerry started messaging me, too,” Sam said. “It made me feel super uncomfortable and he would just continually just push.”