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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Prosecutor wants ex-Cheer star Jerry Harris to get 15 years in prison

The prosecutor demanded that Jerry Harris receive 15 years in prison for forcing teenage boys to send him obscene photos and soliciting sex from minors at cheerleading competitions.

Lawyers for Harris, the former star of the Netflix documentary series Cheer, are seeking a six-year sentence.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Guzman wrote in a sentencing memorandum late Wednesday night that Harris used “his status as a competitive cheerleader, his social media personality, and ultimately his celebrity and money, to persuade and entice his young victims to participate in overt sexual conduct for or with him.”

Ms. Guzman also requested that the sentence include 10 years of parole after serving her prison term.

Harris, 22, from the Illinois suburb of Naperville, earlier this year pleaded guilty to one count of obtaining child pornography and traveling with the intent to engage in illegal sexual activities. He is to be sentenced on July 6 by US District Judge Manish Shah.

Defense lawyers, demanding that the six-year sentence be followed by eight years of supervised release, described Harris as “both tormentor and victim”, saying he himself was sexually abused as a child.

They wrote, “The trauma he endured as a child normalized his twisted version of what he considered to be a proper relationship. No one could stand up for him when he was sexually abused as a minor. He is grateful that in this case his victims are not like that, and in front of them he deeply repents.

… although Harris’s childhood was very difficult, committing sexual offenses against minors was not carte blancheprosecutors

The federal prosecutor’s office acknowledged that the actor’s traumatic childhood was a mitigating factor in his crimes, but stated that “although Harris’s childhood was very difficult, committing sexual offenses against minors was not carte blanche.”

Harris remains in federal custody.

Video of the day

He was arrested in September 2020 on charges of producing child pornography. At the time, prosecutors alleged that he requested videos and images from two 14-year-old brothers.

According to the complaint, federal prosecutors said Harris admitted to repeatedly asking an underage teen to provide pornographic videos and images between December 2018 and March 2020.

Then, in December of that year, he faced new misconduct charges in Illinois, Florida, and Texas. According to the indictment, Harris allegedly solicited sex from minors at cheerleading competitions and persuaded teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves.

According to the indictment, Harris admitted to FBI agents that he asked the teen to send him obscene photos of himself and also requested child pornography on Snapchat from at least 10 to 15 other minors he knew.

Cheers was a huge success when it was released in January 2020, and Harris became very popular for his upbeat attitude and his encouraging “matt talks”. He even interviewed celebrities on the red carpet of the Oscars for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The documentary series follows a competitive cheerleading squad from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.

World Nation News Desk
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