'Cheer' fame Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years in prison
Jerry Harris, who rose to fame after featuring in Netflix's series Cheer, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Wednesday for child sexual abuse. His prosecutors testified that he used his celebrity status to "persuade and entice" minors. The 22-year-old cheerleading champion had pleaded guilty in February to one count each of receiving child pornography and participating in sexual acts with a minor.
- Harris, in December 2020, was charged with a seven-count indictment.
- He pleaded guilty to two counts and confessed he received child pornography and traveled interstate to meet a 15-year-old boy and engage in sexual relations.
- Harris was among the students whose stories were told in the Netflix series.
- Cheer Season 2 addressed the accusations and included an interview with two of Harris's alleged victims.
An episode from Cheer Season 2—titled Jerry—included interviews with two victims, twins Charlie and Sam, along with their mother, Kristen. The cheerleader twins from Texas claimed that the abuse began when they were around 13 years old and Harris was 19. They alleged the abuse lasted for over a year and that Harris started soliciting inappropriate images from one of the boys in 2018.
Harris is "exceedingly grateful" for the judge's recognition of his "humanity, worthiness, and rehabilitative potential," his attorneys told The New York Post. "While Jerry has a difficult road ahead...his uncompromising spirit and strength has carried him through challenging times before. He has nothing but empathy and remorse for the people he has harmed and hopes that today's proceeding provided them some peace," they added.
After his stint with Netflix, Harris gained a fan following for his personality and "mat talk" in the series. His celebrity fame also reeled in endorsement deals, a chat with the then-US presidential candidate Joe Biden, and also a gig as an Oscars correspondent on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. He single-handedly chucked all the success out of the window to pursue his inhuman acts.