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A federal judge sentenced Wednesday jerry harrisa former star of Netflix documentary series cheer12 years in prison for forcing teenage boys to send their obscene photos and videos and for having sex with minors in cheerleading competitions.
US District Judge Manish Shah also ordered that the sentencing be followed by eight years of court-monitored release.
Shah asked Harris to consider the sentence, “an expression of the gravity of your crimes, with the hope that all is not lost for you or your victims, and that there may be some future healing.”
Harris, 22, of suburban Naperville, pleaded guilty earlier this year to obtaining child pornography and traveling with intent to engage in illegal sexual conduct.
A prosecutor had sought a 15-year sentence followed by 10 years of supervised release, while Harris’s lawyers had sought six years’ sentence and eight years’ supervised release.
Before learning of his sentence, Harris apologized to his victims, saying, “I am deeply sorry for all the trauma that my mistreatment has caused you. I pray deeply that your suffering comes to an end.”
“I’m not a bad person,” Harris said. “I’m still learning who I am and what my purpose is.”
Harris is in custody at a federal detention facility.
Sarah Klein, attorney for two of the victims, issued a statement saying that Harris’ guilt was “strongly established”.
“The sentencing he received reflects the gravity of his crimes and the life-long pain of his victims,” Klein said.
harris was Arrested In September 2020, accused of producing child pornography. Prosecutors alleged at the time that he had solicited videos and pictures from the two 14-year-old brothers.
According to a complaint, federal prosecutors said Harris admitted to repeatedly asking a minor teen for pornographic videos and images between December 2018 and March 2020.
Then in December of that year, he was indicted on more charges, alleging misconduct in Illinois, Florida, and Texas. According to the indictment, Harris allegedly solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and persuaded teenage boys to send pornographic pictures and videos of themselves.
According to the indictment, Harris admitted that FBI agents asked a teenage boy to send her pornographic photos of himself, and solicited child pornography on Snapchat from at least 10 to 15 other people he knew as minors.
cheer It was a huge success when it was released in January 2020 and Harris became wildly popular for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “mat talk”. Harris also interviewed celebrities on the red carpet at the Academy Awards The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
The documentary follows the competitive cheerleading squad of Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
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