Former Netflix Reality Star Sentenced To Prison For Terrible Crime

We can't say he doesn't deserve it.

By Michileen Martin | Published


When the Netflix docu-series Cheer premiered in 2020, cheerleader Jerry Harris quickly became a fan-favorite. Of all cheerleaders viewers met in the series, Harris was largely seen as one of the most optimistic and charismatic; always ready to support and uplift others. Unfortunately, most fans have a much darker view of him now and for good reasons. Harris was just sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison on charges related to child pornography as well as soliciting sex from minors.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Manish Shah handed down the sentence of 12 years in prison, to be followed by eight years of court-supervised release. The judge explained to Harris that his sentence was meant to act as an “expression of the seriousness of your crimes, tempered with some hope that all is not lost for you or for your victims.” The sentence didn’t fall too short of the 15 years of prison and 10 years of supervised release requested by prosecutors, while proving significantly harsher than the 6 years of prison asked for by Harris’ attorney.

jerry harris
Jerry Harris in Cheer

Before receiving his sentence, Jerry Harris issued an apology to his victims. “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you,” the Cheer star said. “I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end… I’m not an evil person. I’m still learning who I am and what my purpose is.”

Jerry Harris was arrested in September 2020, eight months after Cheer debuted on Netflix. At the time he was charged with production of child pornography, with authorities claiming he had coerced two 14-year-old boys, brothers, into sending him videos and images. This would wind up being only the tip of the iceberg. Harris admitted to trying to get lewd photographs from between 11 to 16 teen boys of themselves, most of them on Snapchat.

Between his initial arrest and his indictment, prosecutors claimed to have found evidence that, along with coercing teenage boys into sending him images and video, Jerry Harris had allegedly been using his cheerleading competitions to solicit sex from minors. He was charged with a total of seven counts of charges in December 2020 including “sexual exploitation of children, receiving child pornography, traveling with the attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a minor, and enticement.”

As reported by Esquire, in December 2020 Jerry Harris initially pled not guilty to all the charges against him. Last February, however, he changed his tune. Variety reported Harris reached a deal with federal prosecutors, and pled guilty to two of the charges against him: receiving child pornography and engaging in sexual acts with a minor. At the time the judge made it clear that just one of those crimes could bring with it a 30 year sentence; bringing home just how merciful Harris’ 12 year sentence really was.

Horrifically, Jerry Harris is not the only reality TV star to get a decade-plus sentence for charges related to child pornography in recent months. In May, Josh Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting fame was sentence to 12 and a half years in prison for similar charges.