The allegations against Harris have been reported to at least four other law enforcement agencies in Texas and Florida, records obtained by USA TODAY show.
The accusations against Harris have also been reported to the U.S. All Star Federation, which governs the competitive cheerleading discipline in which Harris and the boys compete. Kristen said she filed two reports with USASF. She said her first report – sent May 15 – garnered only a brief response from USASF Vice President of Membership Amy Clark. She said she did not hear from Clark again until she filed a second report on July 9. Clark set up a call with Kristen for the next day.
During that call, Clark indicated the organization was opening an investigation, according to an audio recording Kristen provided USA TODAY. However, USASF did not suspend Harris from participation in All Star activities until Monday, the same day USA TODAY reported the allegations against Harris. USASF said it could not comment on an ongoing investigation.
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Kristen and the boys filed a lawsuit Monday in Texas against Harris, Varsity, USASF and the Cheer Athletics gym at which Harris has cheered, court records show. In it, the family accuses Harris of sexual misconduct and the cheer organizations of negligence and failures to protect the boys from abuse.
Varsity and USASF declined comment. Cheer Athletics owner Angela Rogers told USA TODAY that Harris has not been affiliated with the gym since March 1. She said she learned of the allegations against him in mid-May and reported them to police.
Attorney Sarah Klein, who represents the family, said she hopes the public will “let the truth play out” and not defend Harris simply because of his celebrity.
‘A bad feeling’
The Netflix docuseries that made Harris famous follows Texas’ Navarro College cheerleaders in their quest for a national title. “Cheer,” which has received six Emmy nominations, was an instant success when it was released in e its breakout star, drawing fans for his positive attitude. Throughout the documentary, the Illinois native is often seen on the sidelines, shouting encouragement at teammates as they practice difficult skills.
In February, Harris stood on a Dallas stage beside Oprah Winfrey, who handed him her microphone and asked him to pump up the crowd with his signature “mat talk.” The same month, he interviewed celebrities on the red carpet of the Oscars for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” In June, he filmed a short video with former Vice President Joe Biden, encouraging young Black voters to turn out on Election Day.
Harris’ Instagram page, which has 1.2 million followers, features partnerships with Cheerios, Starburst and Walmart. (A spokesman for General Mills, the company that owns Cheerios, on Monday said the company suspended its relationship with Harris.)
Charlie said he was 13 when he received a request from Harris, then 19, to follow his private Instagram account. Charlie said he doesn’t know how Harris found him in 2018 but that he had recently joined competitive cheerleading. Charlie accepted the request.
“I was getting a bad feeling from it from the beginning,” Charlie said, “because it would be weird for someone like that just to want to be friends with me just randomly.”
In that first conversation, Charlie said Harris asked how old he was and then, after learning he was 13, asked Charlie to send photos of his face and butt, according to a screenshot of that interaction.