On July 6, Jerry Harris, the former star of hit Netflix docuseries Cheer, has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for child pornography soliciting sex from minors, Variety noted, citing USA Today.
Harris, 22, was indicted on seven counts of receiving and attempting to receive child pornography and of persuading minors to engage in sexual contact from August 2017 to August 2020. Prosecutors said the acts involved victims in Texas, Florida and Illinois, according to NBC Boston.
Harris was first arrested for charges of child pornography in September 2020, months after the first season of Cheer debuted in January of that year. Harris' charges would later be addressed in the show's second season earlier this year, which featured an episode dedicated to his case, including interviews with his victims.
On Feb. 10, 2022, Harris pled guilty to two of the counts in the indictment: receiving child pornography and engaging in interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a minor, NBC News reported.
The victims are twin brothers. One of the boys told police that Harris solicited oral sex from him in a bathroom during a cheerleading event they both attended.
According to court documents obtained by USA Today prior to the sentencing, Harris' lawyers argued for a six-year sentence, saying that the 22-year-old had a "warped" view of relationships due to being assaulted at 13 by a 19-year-old. Prosecutors argued for a 15-year sentence, saying that Harris' childhood was not an excuse for his actions.
Harris graduated in 2017 from Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, Illinois, and studied at Texas' Navarro College.