Cheer Star Jerry Harris Sentenced To 12 Years In Child Pornography Case

In February, the Netflix star pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from minors and pressuring young boys to send him nude photos and videos.
"Cheer" star Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for soliciting sex from minors and pressuring young boys to send him nude photos and videos.
"Cheer" star Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for soliciting sex from minors and pressuring young boys to send him nude photos and videos.
via Associated Press

Cheer star Jerry Harris was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years behind bars for soliciting sex from minors and pressuring young boys to send him nude photos and videos.

Harris pleaded guilty in February to two charges for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old in the bathroom during a cheer competition and paying a 17-year-old to send him sexually explicit photos and videos via Snapchat.

In addition, Harris also admitted to similar conduct involving other minors, but those charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement, USA Today reported.

Although Harris was arrested in September 2020, he had reportedly been under investigation by the FBI dating back to 2019, according to TMZ.

Harris’ attorneys initially argued for a six-year sentence, citing a difficult childhood that caused him to have a “warped” view of relationships after he was sexually assaulted at age 13 by a 19-year-old from his cheer gym.

Harris (far right) with his Cheer co-stars (L-R) La’Darius Marshall, Monica Aldama and Gabi Butler.
Harris (far right) with his Cheer co-stars (L-R) La’Darius Marshall, Monica Aldama and Gabi Butler.
Jim Spellman via Getty Images

USA Today said prosecutors asked for a 15-year prison sentence and acknowledged Harris’ traumatic past, but insisted it was “not a blank check to commit sex offences against minors.”

“Harris used his celebrity and wealth to continue his exploitation of children, expanding the tools available to him to manipulate them into gratifying his seemingly insatiable sexual desires,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Guzman said in a sentencing memorandum.

According to a complaint, one boy said that if he refused Harris, Harris would become “pushy” and make him feel guilty.

After Harris agreed to a plea in February, his attorney said he “wishes to take responsibility for his actions and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused his victims in this case,” but claimed his story “can only be understood through the lens of the extreme poverty, sexual abuse and neglect of his childhood.”

Harris was the breakout star of the first season of the Netflix series, but his indictment forced producers to address the allegations during the show’s second season, which premiered last January.