Jerry Harris, one of the stars from the Netflix series Cheer, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison over indecent images of children and soliciting sex from minors.
It comes after the 22 year-old pleaded guilty to two of the seven felony counts against him earlier this year, including one of travelling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 15-year-old for money and one count of receiving sexually explicit images from a 17-year-old.
Harris was arrested in September 2020 on a charge of production of child abuse imagery and has been in custody ever since. According to a complaint, prosecutors said that Harris admitted to repeatedly asking a young teen for videos and images between December 2018 and March 2020.
Prosecutors at the Chicago hearing had called for a lengthy jail term, arguing Harris’ status as a popular celebrity enabled him to “persuade and entice” his young victims to engage in sexual conduct, reports Sky News.
Harris allegedly solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and convinced teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and videos of themselves.
Harris later admitted to FBI agents to asking a teenage boy to send him photos of himself and to requesting indecent images on Snapchat from at least 10 to 15 others he knew to be minors.
Cheer is a documentary series which follows the journey of a competitive cheerleading squad from Navarro College in Texas as they look to win a national title.
The show’s second season, which was released earlier this year, featured an episode titled ‘Jerry’ which addressed the investigation into Harris.
Members of the show had acted as character witnesses for Harris, including Navarro college head coach Monica Aldama, teammate Morgan Simianer, and the parents of Harris’ fellow cheerleader, Gabi Butler.