‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris received 12 years in prison for soliciting sex from a minor and possessing child porn
‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris was sentenced on Wednesday to 12 years in a federal prison for traveling with the intent to have sex with a minor and receiving child pornography. The male cheerleader, who once campaigned for Joe Biden, had five additional charges against him dropped as part of a plea deal.
Harris was handed his sentence by a federal court in Chicago on Wednesday. The Netflix star had been in custody since his arrest in September 2020, and pleaded guilty in February to two out of seven charges against him, including traveling with the intent to engage in “illicit sexual conduct” with a 15-year-old boy and paying a 17-year-old for sexually explicit images.
Five additional charges – which involved Harris soliciting sex from teenage boys at cheerleading events and receiving obscene photographs of them – were dropped as part of the plea bargain. During an FBI investigation, Harris admitted to agents that he asked for and received sexually explicit images of 10 to 15 individuals, all of whom he knew to be minors.
Prosecutors originally sought a lengthier jail term, arguing that Harris used his position as a celebrity on the cheerleading circuit to “persuade and entice” his young victims into sexual conduct.
The 22-year-old shot to fame in 2020 when he was featured in the Netflix docuseries ‘Cheer,’ which followed a Texas cheerleading team as they prepared for national championships. The show won three Emmy Awards and two other titles, and Harris went on to campaign for President Joe Biden that June, three months before his arrest.
The second season of ‘Cheer’ featured an entire episode dedicated to the Harris investigation.