Ex-Cheer Star Jerry Harris Learns His Fate

He's sentenced to 12 years in sex solicitation case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 7, 2022 12:30 AM CDT
Ex- Cheer Star Jerry Harris Sentenced
Jerry Harris talks to an actress on the red carpet at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, Feb. 9, 2020.   (AP Photo/John Locher File)

(Newser) – A federal judge Wednesday sentenced Jerry Harris, a former star of the Netflix documentary series Cheer, to 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves and soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions. US District Judge Manish Shah also ordered that the sentence be followed by eight years of court-supervised release, the AP reports. Shah told Harris 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.” Harris, 22, of suburban Naperville, pleaded guilty earlier this year to one count each of receiving child pornography and traveling with the intention to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

A prosecutor had asked for a sentence of 15 years followed by 10 years of supervised release while attorneys for Harris sought a sentence of six years and eight years of supervised release. Before learning his sentence, Harris apologized to his victims, saying, “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you. I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end.” “I’m not an evil person,” Harris said. “I’m still learning who I am and what my purpose is.” Harris has been in custody at a federal detention facility. Cheer was a huge success when it was released in January 2020 and Harris became wildly popular for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk.” Harris even interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

(Read more Jerry Harris stories.)

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