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A federal judge in Chicago sentenced Jerry Harris – star of the 2020 Netflix documentary series “Cheer” – to 12 years in prison on Wednesday after the 22-year-old cheerleader pleaded guilty to two to seven charges of sex crimes with a minor.
Harris apologized to the underage people he sexually abused at the sentencing, saying, “I’m not an evil person,” and that he was “still learning who I am.”
Harris, who came into the public spotlight for his role in the 2020 Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” was also sentenced to eight years of supervised release after prison.
The cheerleading and social media star pleaded guilty to traveling to Florida to engage in sexual conduct with a 15-year-old, and persuading a 17-year-old to send him explicit photos for money – one of 10 to 15 children in three states he admitted to asking for sexual photos.
Harris was arrested in September 2020 for producing child pornography and soliciting sex and sexually explicit images from minors. He reached a deal with prosecutors for guilty pleas in February 2022 – just over a year after he pleaded not guilty to seven charges brought against him in Chicago. Before the hearing, prosecutors filed a memo asking Judge Manish S. Shaw to sentence Harris to 15 years in prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelley Guzman argued he “used his celebrity and wealth to continue his exploitation of children.”
Jerry Harris Sentenced to 12 Years for Sex Crimes Involving Minors (New York Times)
Jerry Harris: Star of Netflix’s Cheer sentenced to 12 years (BBC)