The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois confirmed in a press release that Harris, 21, was arrested for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit photos and videos of himself. He has been charged with one count of producing child pornography.
A criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in Chicago alleges that Harris contacted a male minor using a social media app and “repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of himself and send them to Harris,” the press release states.
The minor victim allegedly told the Netflix personality that he was 13 years old. Harris is scheduled to make an initial court appearance today at 2 p.m. CDT before U.S. Magistrate Judge M. David Weisman in Chicago.
The charge of production of child pornography carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years.
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.”
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.”
However, Netflix’s condemnation of abuse towards minors comes just days after the streaming giant defended its film “Cuties,” sparking criticism online.
“The Cuties cast could not be reached for comment,” the popular pro-Trump personality Jewish Deplorable quipped.
“Also Netflix: “Please continue to watch “Cuties” for your daily dose of twerking 10-year-olds!” Turning Point USA senior contributor Rob Smith reacted.
The Daily Caller’s Mary Margaret Olohan juxtaposed Netflix’s statement to the viral clip from “Cuties” showing young girls seductively dancing as part of a dance competition.
Criticism of “Cuties” depicting the sexualization of underage girls was renewed last week after a scene from the French film went viral showing four adolescents performing suggestively as part of a dance competition, resulting in a growing boycott movement of the streaming service.
The film follows an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant girl in a religious household who begins rebelling against her family by befriending a group of middle school classmates, who team up to compete in a dance contest.
Amid backlash, Netflix stood by the film and urged its critics to give “Cuties” a chance.
“’Cuties’ is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children,” a Netflix spokesperson told The New York Post. “It’s an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we’d encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie.”
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.