Cheer Star Monica Aldama’s Son Arrested on Child-Pornography Charges

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images, Navarro County Sheriff’s Office

Things within the Cheer universe — the hit Netflix show following the decorated Navarro College cheerleading team — are looking increasingly bleak.

On Monday, TMZ reported that Austin Aldama, the 27-year-old son of former Cheer star and Navarro coach Monica Aldama, had been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography. “Page Six” also confirmed the news, noting that Austin had been cuffed on Thursday and booked in Navarro County jail in Texas on an open warrant.

According to legal documents obtained by TMZ, a grand jury reportedly issued an indictment against Austin with ten counts of possession of child pornography. Prosecutors cited in the documents claimed that the evidence for the case includes several videos with file names, as TMZ puts it, “describing children engaged in sex acts that are under the age of 10.”

Austin’s legal team, however, emailed a statement to the Cut on Tuesday claiming that he is innocent:

“In response to the recent media scrutiny surrounding our client, Austin Aldama, we want to set the record straight. The attention drawn to this case, fueled solely by the celebrity status of his mother, is an egregious attempt to distort the truth.

Let us be absolutely clear — Austin is innocent. The charges against him lack legal merit, and we are confident that the facts, which will prove his innocence, will come to light during the legal proceedings.”

While Austin has been released on bond, TMZ reports he will be subject to random drug testing and voluntary searches of his phone and computer, and he will not be allowed to view pornographic images for the time being.

If this story sounds familiar, that’s because fellow Cheer alum Jerry Harris was also hit with child-pornography charges at the peak of the series’ popularity in 2020. The former fan favorite ultimately pleaded guilty to a count of receiving child pornography and a count of crossing state lines to engage in a sexual act with a minor, according to NBC News. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2022.

At the time of his arrest in 2020, Harris’s coach, Monica Aldama, released a statement, noting she was “shattered” by the allegations against the Navarro cheerleader: “Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I’m praying hard for the victims and everyone affected.”

Monica, who retired from her perch as the coach of Navarro’s cheerleading team in December, has not yet commented on her son’s arrest.

Monica Aldama’s Son Arrested on Child-Pornography Charges