Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Former 'Cheer' Star Jerry Harris Gets 12 Years For Sex Crimes, Calls Actions 'Wrong And Selfish'

Jerry Harris, who was the break-out star from the Netflix docuseries "Cheer," apologized in court for using his fame from the show to solicit sexual images from underage boys.

By Gina Tron
Jerry Harris G

Former “Cheer” star Jerry Harris will spend over a decade behind bars for using his fame to sexually abuse minors. 

Harris 22, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison on Wednesday for soliciting sex from minors, USA Today reports. He will also undergo eight years of supervised release once he is out of prison.

U.S. District Judge Manish Shah told Harris that the sentence is 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,” according to USA Today.

Harris had pleaded guilty in federal court in February to receiving child pornography and traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual contact with a minor. The cheerleader was arrested in 2020 after he solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and convinced teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and videos of themselves. The Naperville, Illinois resident has been held in a federal detention facility without bond ever since.

A mother of two teen twins reached out to the authorities to report alleged sexual misconduct towards both her sons starting in 2018. In a motion for pretrial detention filed in 2020, prosecutors alleged that Harris "exploited and violated at least 10 minor boys by repeatedly requesting the boys send him sexually explicit images of themselves." Many of the charges were thrown out after his February plea deal in which Harris admitted to receiving sexual images over Snapchat from a 17-year-old boy in 2020. He also admitted to traveling to Florida in 2019 to engage in a sexual act with a 15-year-old boy.

"Jerry Harris' guilt has been firmly established," Sarah Klein, attorney for a the family who first reported allegations, told USA Today this week. "The sentence he received reflects the severity of his crimes and the lifetime of pain his victims will suffer."

Harris apologized to his victims in court during the seven-hour-long hearing, calling his actions "wrong and selfish."

"I regret my decisions and I am deeply sorry," he said, according to USA Today. "All I can do going forward is to try to do better and be a better person. I do not deserve forgiveness, but I do pray that one day you might find it in your hearts."

Prosecutors had expressed hope that he would serve 15 years while his lawyers asked for six, claiming he himself was a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

Harris, who was born in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale and raised in nearby Bolingbrook, was the breakout star of the Emmy-winning Netflix docuseries that followed his cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.

“Cheer” was an instant success when it was released in January 2020, and Harris drew fans for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk.” Prior to his arrest, he interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

Read more about: