Monica Aldama has broken her silence in the wake of Jerry Harris getting arrested on a federal charge for allegedly producing child pornography.
The lead coach on Cheer, the Netflix docuseries that launched both Aldama and Harris to fame this summer, Monica took to Instagram just after midnight on Friday and shared her thoughts on this awful situation.
“My heart is shattered into a million pieces,” her Instagram statement began. “I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news.”
“Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation,” she continued.
“And I’m praying hard for the victims and everyone affected. Please respect our privacy as our family mourns during this heartbreaking time.”
Aldama is currently a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
But she became a household name thanks to Cheer, which debuted this year on Netflix and which chronicles the Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team, including team member Harris.
On Thursday, the 21-year old was charged in Chicago, a statement from federal officials confirmed, alleging that he was arrested for “allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself.”
Harris, the statement claims, “contacted the underage boy on a social media application and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself and send them to Harris, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
“The minor victim informed Harris during their initial online encounter that he was 13.”
This young teenager also told authorities that Harris solicited oral sex from him in a bathroom at a cheerleading event they both attended in 2018.
“Harris admitted to soliciting and receiving child pornography on Snapchat from at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors,” the affidavit further states.
Per this same release, “production of child pornography is punishable by a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.”
A Netflix spokesperson told People Magazine on Thursday:
“Like everyone we are shocked by this news. Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”
The arrest also came just days after underage twin brothers filed a lawsuit against Harris for allegedly sexually abusing them and demanding nude photographs from them.
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, the firm representing the twins in a civil suit, has confirmed that the unnamed victim connected to Harris’ arrest is one of these twins.
“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,” Morgan Stewart and Sarah Klein of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi told E! News.
“This was made possible because our clients’ mother had the courage to report Harris to the FBI as well as the Fort Worth Police Department and provided evidentiary proof of the manipulation, sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation that her sons had suffered.”
In the wake of the lawsuit, but prior to the arrest, a spokesperson for Harris said the following:
“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.”