Local News

Man With Local Ties Linked to Netflix’s ‘Cheer’ Accused of Sexual Misconduct Involving Child – NBC 7 San Diego

A man who grew up in Scripps Ranch who is connected to the hit Netflix series “Cheer” was arrested last week in Texas for suspicion of aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to Dallas County Sheriff’s Department records.

Mitchell Ryan, 23, who was a member of the Navarro College cheer team, was booked into jail Thursday and posted bond the following day, NBC News reported. Court records allege an offense dating back to July 24, 2020.

Cheer followed the cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, as it sought a national title. It was an instant success when it was released in January.

Ryan spent most of his formative years in Scripps Ranch, going to school at Jerabek Elementary, Marshall Middle and Scripps Ranch High, graduating in the mid-2010s. “Cheer” was not Ryan’s first time on a hit show: Sharp eyes may have spotted him last year when the Plano, Texas-based cheer club the Wildcats performed on America’s Got Talent.

Also arrested last week, NBC News reported: 25-year-old Robert Joseph Scianna Jr., who was a coach and choreographer with the Navarro team. According to a statement released by Chesterfield County, Virginia, Scianna is accused of indecency with a child and “use of an electronic communication device to solicit sex.”

“Mitch and his family were surprised at his arrest,” Ryan’s attorney, Jeremy Rosenthal, said in an email sent to NBC News. “There are two sides to every story, and we are confident Mitch’s name will be cleared.”

NBC News attempted to reach Netflix, three production companies connected to the show and Scianna but did not hear back from any of the five.

The developments last week came in the wake of the arrest of Jerry Harris, a 21-year-old star of the show, who was taken into custody in September on felony charges of production of child pornography. His arrest came three days after twin boys filed a lawsuit alleging he sent them sexually explicit photos of himself and cornered one of them in a bathroom and begged for oral sex.

The boys’ mother told the newspaper that both of her sons had spoken to the FBI, and the lawsuit alleges that she also reported the allegations to Fort Worth police, the FBI and others. The complaint contends that the mother contacted authorities after she saw messages from Harris on one of her son’s cellphones.

Harris was the subject of other allegations brought forth toward the end of last year, including enticing a minor “to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct,” NBC News reported.

Harris did not respond for comment from USA Today, which first broke the story, and attempts by The Associated Press to contact Harris in September were successful. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.