Cheer’s Jerry Harris sentenced in child pornography case

Jerry Harris

Jerry Harris
photo: Omar Vega (Getty Images)

Former Cheer star Jerry Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in a child pornography case after he pleaded guilty last year to two separate charges, per Associated Press.

Twenty-two years old Harris has been sentenced for coercing teenage boys to send him explicit footage and photos of themselves, as well as soliciting sex from minors at different cheerleading competitions. Harris was first arrested in September 2020, after the The FBI began investigating grievances against the Netflix star stemming as far back as 2018.

per The Chicago Tribune, a complaint from that year alleged Harris reached out to a teen on Snapchat and urged him to send sexually explicit material while knowing that the boy was a minor. When the boys parents found his phone, the boy also revealed Harris had also initiated sexual encounters with him at cheerleading competitions, something another 13-year-old victim also accused Harris of.

The same complaint stated that when the FBI obtained a warrant to search Harris’ Illinois home, Harris admitted guilt and also shared he’d received sexually explicit snapchats from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.” Harris was also sued in Texas by two underage brothers, identified by USA Today as Charlie and Sam, who accused Harris of “sexual harassment, exploitation, manipulation, intimidation and sexual abuse.”

Per the order of US District Judge Manish Shah, Harris will follow up his sentence with eight years of court-supervised release. Harris has been in custody at a federal detention center while awaiting trial.

Before Harris learned the sentence, he had an opportunity to say a few words, which used to apologize. “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you. I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end,” he said. “I’m not an evil person. I’m still learning who I am and what my purpose is.”

The 12-year-sentence is a slightly more lenient verdict than the 15 years (plus 10 years of court-supervised release) the prosecution had pushed for. Shah told Harris to see the verdict as ““expression of the seriousness of your crimes, tempered with some hope that all is not lost for you or for your victims, and that in the future some healing can occur,” per AP.

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