Jerry Harris, a former star of the Netflix documentary series Cheer, received a sentence of 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send him obscene pictures and videos of themselves, resolving a case that shocked many.
On Wednesday (July 6th), the former star of the reality docuseries was sentenced to 12 years in prison by U.S. District Judge Manish Shah for coercing teenage boys to send him explicit videos and photos of themselves. He was also found guilty of soliciting sex from minors while at cheerleading competitions. As he rendered the verdict, Shah advised Harris to consider his sentence an “expression of the seriousness of your crimes, tempered with some hope that all is not lost for you or for your victims, and that in the future some healing can occur.” Harris was also given eight years of court-supervised release to follow his prison sentence.
The 22-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography and one count of traveling with intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct. He had been arrested in September 2020 after the Federal Bureau of Investigation had begun looking into complaints about Harris that dated back as early as 2018. When FBI officials searched his Naperville, Illinois home, the Netflix star admitted his guilt and confessed to receiving explicit Snapchat messages from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.”
Before the sentence was handed down, Harris took the opportunity to apologize while in the courtroom. “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you. I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end,” he said. “I’m not an evil person. I’m still learning who I am and what my purpose is.” Initially, a prosecutor sought a sentence of 15 years and 10 years of court-supervised release for Harris. “The sentence he received reflects the severity of his crimes and the lifetime of pain his victims will suffer,” Sarah Klein, an attorney for two of his victims, said in a statement after the ruling.