Cheer star Jerry Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for soliciting underage sex.
The 22-year-old, who rose to fame as part of the Netflix docuseries, had character witnesses read in court before the judge announced the verdict.
Prosecutors had pushed for the lengthy sentence, saying that Harris’ status as a popular celebrity enabled him to “convince and seduce” his young victims into engaging in sexual activity.
Judge Manish S Shah handed the verdict to the social media star and cheerleading champion in a Chicago federal court on Wednesday.
Harris appeared in court for the lengthy seven-hour hearing.
Character witnesses were read by friends of Harris, including Navarro College head coach Monica Aldama, teammate Morgan Simianer, and the parents of Harris’ fellow cheerleader Gabi Butler.
Harris had pleaded guilty in February to one count of traveling with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity and one count of receiving child pornography.
US prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining five charges under a plea agreement.
A judge had previously told him he could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison.
He was accused of soliciting sexually inappropriate photos from teenagers, which he denied.
A release from Harris’ attorney, Todd Pugh, upheld Harris’ guilty plea Metro.co.uk. It read: “Jerry Harris today issued a plea of guilt because he wants to take responsibility for his actions and publicly express his remorse for the harm he caused to the victims in this case.
“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.
“Since his incarceration, Jerry has actively sought and participates in mental health treatment and therapy, both for his behavior and for the diagnosed trauma disorders he suffers from.
“With his guilty plea, Jerry will spend the rest of his life making amends for what he did.
“His hope is that he can show those harmed by his behavior that he can one day reclaim his worth as a human being to them and that as he continues to grow up he can actually make a meaningful contribution.”
Cheer followed the ups and downs of Navarro College’s competitive cheer team.
Harris rose to fame in the first season of Cheer, and the second season focused on the allegations against him.
In one episode, twin survivors Charlie and Sam shared details about the abuse they allegedly experienced when they were 13.
They claimed that he asked for explicit photos and sex when he was 19.
“He asked me how old I was and I told him I was 13,” Charlie said. “And then right away he asked me, ‘Can I have butt pics?’ or ‘Can you send butt pics?’
“I was ready to do that and was kind of caught off guard by his notoriety at the time.”
The twins admit they were apprehensive about reporting Harris because they feared it would make them lose their cheerful friends.
https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/06/cheers-jerry-harris-sentenced-to-12-years-in-prison-over-child-pornography-16956603/ Cheer's Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for child pornography