'Cheer': Jerry Harris Gets More Than a Decade in Prison After Child Pornography Conviction

Jerry Harris, disgraced former star of Netflix's Cheer, has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars for sex crimes against minors. According to NBC News, the 22-year-old was sentenced on July 6, almost five months after pleading guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

A source told TMZ Harris was ordered to pay $35,000 into the AVAA crime victims fund over eight years and will be held under court supervision after his release from prison. According to federal investigators, Harris confessed to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy during a cheerleading event and requesting nude photos from a 17-year-old boy on Snapchat. He also admitted to requesting nude photos from minors, trying to solicit oral sex at cheer events, and receiving child pornography from at least 10 other victims. 

Additionally, he acknowledged seeking nude photos from minors, attempting to seek oral sex at cheer competitions, and obtaining child pornography from at least ten other victims. Ahead of his trial, Harris faced up to 50 years in prison and was denied bond. 

Since Harris' arrest in September 2020, the disgraced reality star has been behind bars facing charges of sex abuse. After initially pleading not guilty to the child pornography case, Harris changed it "to take responsibility for his actions and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused." Harris' attorneys sought a six-year jail sentence, stating that his predatory behavior stemmed from his childhood abuse. 

"Jerry is a 22-year-old young man whose story can only be understood through the lens of the extreme poverty, sexual abuse, and neglect of his childhood," stated his attorneys early this year. "The criminal conduct in this case also took place in the context of a competitive Cheer Community where inappropriately sexualizing and sexually abusing children was far too common and too often overlooked. Jerry was himself exploited, manipulated, and sexually abused as a child within the Cheer Community in a way that perversely made him believe that this sexual conduct was somehow normal when it was not [...] As we now know, Jerry became an offender himself as an older teenager."

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Cheer addressed Harris' sex abuse case in episode two of its second season. Twin brothers Charlie and Sam shared their stories about Harris, stating that he began contacting them when they were 13 and 19.

"I would not be putting myself out there and doing all this stuff and literally losing my friends about this for no reason," Charlie said. "Jerry is just an example of how you can see someone as one way, but they're truly a different person."