‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison

Cheer‘s Jerry Harris will face 12 years in prison on federal charges surrounding child pornography. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to federal prison after being indicted on seven counts of receiving and attempting to receive child sexual abuse images between 2017 and 2020.

He originally faced a 15-year sentence for 12 counts but ended up being indicted for seven after pleading guilty to the charges in February. In a statement to Rolling Stone in February, Harris’ attorneys wrote that Harris “wishes to take responsibility for his actions and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused.”

Harris, who had become a beloved character on the Netflix cheerleader docuseries for his boisterous personality and heartwarming backstory, was arrested by the FBI in September of 2020 for child porn production. He’s been in jail without bond since then, according to Chicago Tribune. He pleaded not guilty in December 2020.

The attorneys wrote that Harris was “manipulated and sexually abused as a child” and contextualized his criminal actions by saying that the cheerleading community “perversely made him believe that this sexual conduct was somehow normal when it was not.”

At the time of his arrest, prosecutors claimed that he asked a 13-year-old to send him sexual photos and videos of himself. The child later told investigators that Harris sexually assaulted him in a restroom at a cheer event.  “Harris’ sexual assault of this boy in such a public place, in an unlocked public bathroom, during an event attended by dozens of responsible adults demonstrates that Harris either does not care about being caught committing his offenses, or simply cannot stop himself,” the prosecution filing stated, per the Tribune.

Harris allegedly admitted to requesting child porn from 10 to 15 children and to having sex with the 15-year-old.

“Since his incarceration, Jerry has actively sought out and is participating in mental health treatment and therapy both for his conduct and the diagnosed trauma disorders for which he suffers,” Harris’ attorneys wrote. “With his plea of guilty, Jerry will spend the rest of his life making amends for what he has done.”

The change in Harris’ plea comes less than two months after Netflix released the trailer for Cheer‘s second season, where his former teammates — and former coach Monica Aldama — will react to his arrest in an entire episode. “It was shocking. It was devastating for everyone,” Aldama said on Ellen last month. “As a parent, I was heartbroken for those affected and 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.”

This story was updated on July 6 to include Jerry Harris’ indictment.

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