Entertainment

Ex-Cheer star Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years in prison for child pornography

Jerry Harris who appeared in the Netflix series To cheerwas sentenced to 12 years in prison for crimes related to child pornography and soliciting sex with a minor.

The disgraced cheerleading champion has been held in federal custody since Harris in September 2020 on child pornography charges.

Prosecutors at the time claimed he requested videos and pictures of two 14-year-old brothers.

According to a complaint, federal prosecutors said Harris admitted to repeatedly asking an underage teenager about pornographic videos and images between December 2018 and March 2020.

In December 2020, Harris was indicted on additional misconduct charges in Illinois, Florida and Texas.

He allegedly solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and persuaded teenagers to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves.

Harris later admitted to FBI agents that he had asked a teenager to send him photos of himself and, according to the indictment, had solicited child pornography on Snapchat from at least 10 to 15 others he knew were minors.

On Wednesday (July 6) in a federal court in Chicago, Judge Manish S. Shah sentenced Harris to 12 years in prison after prosecutors urged a lengthy sentence.

They argued that Harris’ celebrity status enabled him to “convince and seduce” his young victims into engaging in sexual activity.

Notable figures listed as authors of character letters to be used by his defense included other stars of To cheer like Navarro College head coach Monica Aldama, teammate Morgan Simianer and the parents of Harris’ fellow cheerleader Gabi Butler.

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(Courtesy of Netflix)

Harris, 22, previously pleaded guilty to two of seven counts against him at a plea bargain in February this year. This included convincing a 17-year-old boy to send him sexually explicit photos in exchange for money.

The other count came from a trip he made to Florida to “engage in illegal sexual conduct” with a 15-year-old.

His pleadings were filed in February of this year during a plea hearing in US federal court in Chicago. Prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining five charges under a plea agreement.

One child pornography charge carries a prison sentence of between five and 20 years in the United States, while the second charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.

A native of the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Harris was Netflix’s breakout star To cheer. The series followed a cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas as it sought a national title.

The second season of To cheer deals with the investigation into Harris in an episode titled “Jerry.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/jerry-harris-sentencing-cheer-netflix-b2117630.html Ex-Cheer star Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years in prison for child pornography

JOE HERNANDEZ

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