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Cheer Star Jerry Harris Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison For Child Pornography Charges

Lucy Devine

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| Last updated 

Cheer Star Jerry Harris Sentenced To 12 Years In Prison For Child Pornography Charges

Featured Image Credit: Netflix/Getty

Netflix's Cheer star Jerry Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in prison over child pornography charges.

The 22-year-old was handed the sentence at a federal court in Chicago on Wednesday (6 July). Harris was first arrested back in September 2020 and previously pleaded guilty to having received indecent images and travelling with the intent of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Credit: Netflix
Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Credit: Netflix

Judge Manish S Shah told the social media star and cheerleading champion to consider the sentence an "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".

In court, character witnesses were heard from Navarro college head coach Monica Aldama, Morgan Simianer, and the parents of Gabi Butler.

Addressing his victims before receiving his sentence, he said: "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 added: "I'm not an evil person. I'm still learning who I am and what my purpose is."

Harris pleaded guilty to two charges out of seven. Credit: Netflix
Harris pleaded guilty to two charges out of seven. Credit: Netflix

In February this year, Harris pleaded guilty to the two charges (out of seven against him), which involved persuading a 17-year-old to send indecent photographs and travelling to Florida to "engage in illicit sexual conduct" with a minor.

Prosecutors had agreed to drop the remaining five counts against Harris under a plea agreement and Harris has remained in custody at a federal detention facility since 2020.

Prosecutors had wanted a lengthy sentence for the former star, stating that Harris' celebrity status allowed him to ‘persuade and entice’ his victims.

Harris was first arrested in September 2020 on the charge of producing child abuse imagery.

It occurred after a complaint from a Texas mother who claimed that her two sons had been abused by Harris.

In the second season of Cheer, which dropped on Netflix last month, two boys came forward and identified themselves as Harris' victims, describing their experience with the Navarro cheerleader.

The 22-year-old was handed the sentence at a federal court in Chicago on Wednesday. Credit: Netflix
The 22-year-old was handed the sentence at a federal court in Chicago on Wednesday. Credit: Netflix

Following Harris' guilty plea, defence attorney Todd Pugh said in a statement: "Jerry Harris has entered a plea of guilty today because he wishes to take responsibility for his actions and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused the victims in this case.

"Jerry is a 22-year-old young man whose story can only be understood through the lens of the extreme poverty, sexual abuse, and neglect of his childhood."

He later added: "With his plea of guilty, Jerry will spend the rest of his life making amends for what he has done.

"His hope is that he can demonstrate to those harmed by his conduct that he can one day earn back his value to them as a human being and that as he continues to become an adult, he can indeed make a contribution that matters."

Topics: News

Lucy Devine
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