Netflixs Cheer star Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years for child sex crimes
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A former Netflix star Jerry Harris, 22, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in a federal sex abuse case.
Jerry rose to fame in the original Netflix series Cheer and pleaded guilty to coercing adolescent boys to send him sexually explicit photos and soliciting sex from minors.
The judge handed down the sentence in a Chicago federal court on Wednesday after a lengthy hearing.
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Although he was charged with seven federal crimes, he ultimately pleaded guilty to two: receipt of child sexual abuse material and one count of travelling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
The actor paid a 17-year-old to send him sexually explicit photos and also travelled to Florida "for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct" with a 15-year-old boy.
In their sentencing, prosecutors said Harris used "his status as a competitive cheerleader, his social media persona, and eventually his celebrity and money, to persuade and entice his young victims to engage in sexually explicit conduct for him or with him."
Harris’ lawyers are seeking a shorter sentence of six years, followed by eight years of supervised release as they said he had a traumatic childhood.
They described him as “both victimizer and victim” and said that he was sexually assaulted himself as a child.
His lawyers wrote: “The trauma he experienced as a child normalised his skewed version of what he understood to be appropriate relationships.
“No one was there to stand up for him when he was sexually assaulted as a minor.
“He is grateful that is not the case for his victims in this case, to whom he is profoundly remorseful.”
While federal prosecutors acknowledged that Harris’ childhood was a mitigating factor in his crimes, they said: “While Harris’s childhood was very difficult, it was not a blank check to commit sex offences against minors.”
Harris came to fame in the first season of Cheer, with the second series addressing the allegations against him.
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