According to legal documents, obtained by ET, Judge Manish S. Shah announced the sentencing Wednesday in Chicago court. Upon release, the “Cheer” star was will be on supervised release for eight years. The docs also show Harris has been ordered to pay $5,200 in fines. Prosecutors initially wanted Harris to serve 15 years.
The sentencing comes nearly five months after Harris pled guilty in a Chicago courtroom to receiving child pornography as well as traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
At the time, a statement from Harris’ lawyers noted that he wanted to take responsibility for his actions and “publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused the victims in this case.”
“Jerry is a 22-year-old young man whose story can only be understood through the lens of the extreme poverty, sexual abuse, and neglect of his childhood,” the statement reads. “The criminal conduct in this case also took place in the context of a competitive Cheer Community where inappropriately sexualizing and sexually abusing children was far too common and too often overlooked. Jerry was himself exploited, manipulated, and sexually abused as a child within the Cheer Community in a way that perversely made him believe that this sexual conduct was somehow normal when it was not. There being no safe harbour to discuss his exploitation, Jerry instead masked his trauma and put on the bright face and infectious smile that the world came to know. As we now know, Jerry became an offender himself as an older teenager.”
The statement said that since his incarceration, Harris has been getting mental health treatment and going to therapy.
“With his plea of guilty, Jerry will spend the rest of his life making amends for what he has done,” the statement continues. “His hope is that he can demonstrate to those harmed by his conduct that he can one day earn back his value to them as a human being and that as he continues to become an adult, he can indeed make a contribution that matters.”
Harris was arrested on child pornography charges in September 2020 and has remained in custody ever since.
According to the criminal complaint obtained by ET at the time, Harris allegedly contacted an underage boy on social media, who he knew was 13 years old, and repeatedly enticed him to produce sexually explicit videos and photographs of himself, and send them to him. When the FBI raided Harris’ Naperville home on Sept. 14, he admitted to agents in a voluntary interview that he had solicited lewd images and sex from the boy on numerous occasions, knowing that he was 13 years old, per the complaint.
Season 2 of “Cheer” on Netflix addressed the shocking fallout of Harris’ arrest after he had become a fan favourite of the documentary series. In one episode, twin brothers Charlie and Sam speak out about what they say happened between them and Harris. Charlie, an aspiring cheerleader, was 13 years old when he says he started communicating with Harris.
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