BREAKING: Cheer star Jerry Harris is jailed for 12 years after pleading guilty to soliciting sex from underage boys at cheerleading competitions
- The former star of popular Netflix docuseries ‘Cheer’ was sentenced yo 12 years inn jail for soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions
- Jerry Harris’ plea comes after a two-year long federal child pornography case
- Harris, who quickly rose to fame in season one of the Netflix series, entered in the guilty plea for two charges – receiving child porn using interstate commerce
- He also plead guilty to a charge of traveling over state lines with intent to illicit sexual conduct with a minor
- The actor, 22, was 19 years old at the time he was arrested in Illinois on child pornography charges in September 2020
- The alleged victims were 13 at the time, according to the criminal complaint
- Prosecutors accused Harris of using his position within the cheerleading community to lure and groom minors for sex or to send him graphic videos
- Harris is being held without bond in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, records show
The former star of popular Netflix docuseries Cheer was jailed for 12 years Wednesday after pleading guilty to federal charges of soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions at his child pornography trial.
Jerry Harris, 22, who quickly rose to fame in season one of the cheerleading-related Netflix hit, had entered guilty pleas to two charges – receiving child porn using interstate commerce, and traveling over state lines with intent to illicit sexual conduct with a minor.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison, to be followed by 8 years of court-supervised release.
The Texas native was 19 years old at the time he was arrested in Illinois on child pornography charges in September 2020.
The alleged victims in that case were boys aged 13 at the time, according to the criminal complaint.
‘Harris’ sexual assault of (one) 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,’ Assistant US Attorney Christopher Parente wrote of one of Harris’ victims.
Cheer star Jerry Harris, shown in 2020, pleaded guilty on Thursday to federal charges of soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions
Harris, pictured above on the ‘Ellen’ show, rose to fame in season one of the cheerleading-related Netflix hit
Authorities said Harris coerced minor victims to send him graphic photos and videos of themselves while soliciting sex from boys as young as 13 at cheerleading competitions across the country, according to the Tribune.
In December 2020, Harris was indicted on charges alleging misconduct at such competitions in Illinois, Florida and Texas, with federal prosecutors alleging that Harris had attempted to persuade a minor to engage in oral sex at one cheerleading event.
Authorities also claim he solicited another minor for sex in a different state, and admitted to having five to 10 victims in all.
Prosecutors had painted him as a major figure within the competitive cheerleading community due to his role on the popular Netflix docuseries, which follows a cheerleading squad from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
The Naperville native has been behind bars since October 2020, when US Magistrate Judge Heather McShain said he would be a danger to the community if released following an initial charge of one count of production of child porn.
McShain added that Harris had used his position within the cheerleading community to both meet and proposition his young victims, while rejecting the ‘blurred line’ between Harris’ age and that of his alleged victims.
‘(Harris) was not a child,’ McShain said. ‘He was an adult.’
On Tuesday, federal prosecutors described Harris as a sexual predator who used his fame to victimize young boys at cheerleading events nationwide.
Authorities said Harris continued to pursue minors in a sexual manner even after he learned he was under investigation, with prosecutors asking the court that Harris be denied bond.
Meanwhile, Harris’ attorneys had requested the courts to release him on house arrest, while adding that he suffers from asthma and is at risk for COVID-19 in jail.
Harris is being held without bond in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, records show.
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