TMZ reported that “Cheer” personality Jerris Harris was facing up to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. However, he’s been sentenced to 12 instead.
Harris assaulted a 15-year-old boy at a cheerleading competition, and paid a 17-year-old boy to send him explicit photos and videos of hisself. During the plea agreement, the star admitted to similar acts involving a number of other minors. However, lawyers dismissed those charges.
Harris’ lawyers argued for a six-year sentence and stated that he had a “warped” view of relationships. The prosecution recognized his past, but said it was “not a blank check to commit sex offenses against minors.” When he was 13, a 19-year-old cheerleader sexually assaulted him.
The FBI raided his home in September 2020 in search of alleged child pornography possession. Police began investigating the allegations in May 2019 after Varsity, a cheerleading company, notified them of the accusations.
Police received several screenshots from the former cheerleader to the minors via Snapchat and text messages; as well as evidence of FaceTime calls.
Despite a COVID-19 hiatus, Season 2 of “Cheers” did not hide Harris’ arrest. Gabi Butler, Harris’ teammate, said she felt like she was in a bad dream.
“My heart completely sank,” Butler said. “I, honestly, thought I was living in a bad dream.” Sarah Klein, attorney for one of Harris’ accusers, said the sentence reflects the seriousness of his crime.
“Jerry Harris’ guilt has been firmly established,” Klein said. “The sentence he received reflects the severity of his crimes and the lifetime of pain his victims will suffer.”
In addition to Harris’ prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Shah also ordered him to serve eight years of supervised release.