Chicago (AP) – A federal judge has sentenced Jerry Harris, a former star of the Netflix documentary series “Cheer,” to 15 years in prison for forcing teenage boys to post pornographic photos and videos and soliciting sex. From minors in cheerleading competitions.
Lawyers for Harris are seeking a six-year prison sentence.
U.S. Assistant Attorney Kelly Guzmn wrote in a memorandum late Wednesday that Harris “used his status as a competitive cheerleader, his social media personality, and ultimately his celebrity and money to persuade and persuade his youth to engage in sexually explicit behavior for him.”
Guzmn also requested that he be released after 10 years in prison.
Harris, 22, of suburban Naperville, pleaded guilty Earlier this year the number of children receiving pornography and traveling with the intention of engaging in illegal sexual activity were counted one by one. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah will sentence him on July 6.
Defense attorneys described Harris as “both a victim and a victim” who sexually abused him as a child, seeking his release with eight years’ supervision after serving a six-year sentence.
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“The trauma he suffered as a child normalized the perverse version of what he understood to be a proper relationship. There was no one to stand by him when he was sexually abused as a minor.
Federal prosecutors acknowledged that the actor’s traumatic childhood was a factor in reducing his crimes, but said that “although Harris’ childhood was a difficult one, committing sexual crimes against minors was not an empty check.”
Harris is in custody at the Federal Detention Facility.
Harris was arrested in September 2020 On charges of producing child pornography. Prosecutors at the time allege he demanded videos and pictures from two 14-year-old brothers.
According to the complaint, federal prosecutors say Harris admitted to repeatedly asking the minor teenager for pornographic videos and images between December 2018 and March 2020.
In December of that year, he was indicted on further charges Alleged misconduct in Illinois, Florida and Texas. According to the indictment, Harris solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and persuaded teenage boys to send him pornographic photos and videos.
According to the indictment, Harris admitted to asking a teenage boy to send pornographic photographs to FBI agents and requesting child pornography known to him as at least 10 to 15 minors on Snapchat.
“Cheer” was a huge success when it was released in January 2020 and Harris was hugely popular for his enthusiastic attitude and his encouraging “Matt Talk”. Harris also interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the Academy Awards for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.
The documentaries follow a competitive cheerleading squad from Navarro College in Corsica, Texas.