NewsNationalScripps News

Actions

'Cheer' star Monica Aldama's son hit with 10 child pornography charges

The 27-year-old son of Netflix's "Cheer" coach allegedly had child pornography on his electronic devices.
'Cheer' star Monica Aldama's son hit with 10 child pornography charges
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 20:33:32-05

The 27-year-old son of "Cheer" coach Monica Aldama has been arrested on child pornography charges, Texas court filings state.

William Austin Aldama, who goes by his middle name, was taken into Navarro County custody Jan. 17 on an open warrant for his arrest. The record notes a grand jury indictment against him carried 10 counts of possession with intent to promote child pornography, each a third-degree felony that can carry up to a 10-year prison sentence, county law states.

The Texas resident's bond was set at $20,000 for each charge, but court records say he was released that day on a personal recognizance bond, which allows the accused to be released without posting the bond under determined conditions. Those conditions, according to TMZ and Page Six, include having to submit to random drug testing and voluntary searches of his electronic devices, and he cannot view any pornographic imagery.

Court documents obtained by the two publications state prosecutors claim they have multiple videos with file names describing children under 10 years old engaging in sexual acts.

Austin Aldama hasn't entered a plea yet in the case, but his attorneys told Page Six the charges against their client "lack merit" and that this is a case of "shameless exploitation of celebrity connections," likely in reference to his mother's fame.

Monica Aldama shot to stardom with the Netflix series "Cheer," which followed the Navarro College cheer team she had coached since 1995, snagging dozens of championships along the way. 

The show's first season premiered in January 2020, and its second season was released two years later, focusing partly on the aftermath surrounding fan-favorite Jerry Harris being arrested on separate child pornography charges.

SEE MORE: Netflix 'Cheer' Star Jerry Harris Sentenced To 12 Years For Sex Crimes

Harris was arrested in September 2020 on accusations he enticed a 13-year-old boy into producing sexually explicit content of himself to send to the cheerleader. In July 2022, the then-22-year-old was sentenced to 12 years in prison followed by eight years of a court-supervised release after taking a plea agreement, which led to five out of seven sexual abuse and child pornography charges being dropped.

At the time of Harris' arrest, Monica Aldama had said she was "devastated" by the news, saying in a statement, "Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation." She also later told Ellen Degeneres it was especially difficult for her as a mom.

"As a parent, I was heartbroken for those affected and, you know, it was definitely one of the major challenges that we faced, just keeping ourselves in a good state of mind, mentally to get through that," she said in 2022. 

But although his case received the most attention, Harris wasn't the only "Cheer" cast member to face similar allegations.

Mitchell Ryan, who was on the team at the time of filming, was arrested for aggravated sexual assault of a child in 2021 at the age of 23, but a jury declined to indict him months later, likely due to having insufficient evidence to necessitate a prosecution.

Then Robert Joseph Scianna, a cheer coach and choreographer, was arrested for soliciting sex from a minor online when he was 25. He later pleaded guilty.

More recently, Monica Aldama herself was hit with a lawsuit in 2023, this time alleging the coach actively tried to dissuade one of her female cheerleaders from reporting a male cheerleader had allegedly sexually assaulted her. The lawsuit was dismissed later that year.


Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com