Star of the popular Netflix series “Cheer,” Jerry Harris, was sentenced this week to 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send him nude photos of themselves, as well as for soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions.
Harris appeared in court for his sentencing hearing and apologized to his victims and the court prior to receiving his punishment. “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you. I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end,” Harris said. “I’m not an evil person, I’m still learning who I am and what my purpose is.”
Harris was arrested in 2020 for soliciting photos and videos from two 14-year old brothers. In December of the same year, he was arrested for allegedly soliciting sex from teenagers at cheerleading competitions in Florida, Illinois and Texas. Harris admitted to asking teens for sexual photos and videos of themselves on social media and in person, and admitted asking about 10-15 minors on SnapChat for lewd photos of themselves.
“The sentence he received reflects the severity of his crimes and the lifetime of pain his victims will suffer,” said Sarah Klein, an attorney for two of Harris’ victims. Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Joseph D. Fitzpatrick told CNN in an email that after Harris has served his 12 years in federal prison, it will be followed by 8 more years of supervised release.
Harris’ attorney released a statement after the sentencing that said Harris “is exceedingly grateful” for the judge’s “recognition of his humanity, worthiness, and rehabilitative potential.” The judge told Harris he hopes after the sentence is completed there can be a chance for some healing for both Harris and his victims.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NPR
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