Latest News

‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Has Been Sentenced To 12 Years For Child Pornography Charges

" I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end.”

Jerry Harris, the breakout star of Netflix’s hit documentary series Cheerwas arrested on September 17 2020 on felony charges of production of child sexual abuse images.

The then 21-year-old cheerleader was taken into custody at his home in Naperville, Illinois, for allegedly enticing an underage boy to produce sexually explicit videos and photos of him, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Appearing in Chicago’s federal court, Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison for coercing teenage boys to send obscene photos and videos of themselves and soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions.
US District Judge Manish Shah also ordered that the sentence be followed by eight years of court-supervised release. Addressing the court post-sentencing, Shah urged Harris to consider the sentence as 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”.
Before learning his sentence, Harris apologised to his victims, saying, “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you. I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end.”
La'Darius Marshall, Gabi Butler, Jerry Harris and Monica Aldama
La’Darius Marshall, Gabi Butler, Jerry Harris and Monica Aldama (Credit: Getty)

The 2020 arrest came three days after 13-year-old twin boys filed a lawsuit alleging Harris had sent them sexually explicit photos of himself and “cornered one of them in a bathroom and begged for oral sex”, per The Guardian

At the time, Harris released a statement following news of the lawsuit, denying any wrongdoing on his part. “We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager. We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed,” his rep said.

FBI later raided Harris’ home on September 14 2020, with court documents revealing he admitted to asking one of the teens to send him sexually explicit photographs and videos via Snapchat. He also claimed to admit to requesting and receiving child sexual abuse images from “at least between 10 to 15 other individuals he knew were minors.” 

In February 2022, he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old and paying a 17-year-old for sexually explicit photos and videos, according to USA Today.

jerry harris

Harris, who was a member of the cheerleading team at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas, gained worldwide fame on the Emmy-nominated Netflix series for his upbeat attitude and spirited pep talks.

“Like everyone we are shocked by this news,” a Netflix spokeswoman said on Thursday, via the New York Times. “Any abuse of minors is a terrible crime and we respect the legal process.”

In the U.S., production of child pornography carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years, so Harris’ punishment still lands on the lower end of the spectrum. 

Related stories