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’Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Says He’s ‘Ashamed’ After Sentencing In Child Pornography Case

The 22-year-old admitted to wrongdoing in a statement.

On Wednesday (July 6), Jerry Harris, a breakout character rom the Netflix docuseries Cheer, was sentenced to 12 years on federal charges involving child sexual abuse images, NBC News reports.

The 22-year-old was indicted on seven counts of receiving and attempting to receive child pornography and of persuading minors to engage in sexual contact from August 2017 to August 2020.

Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, confirmed to NBC News that Harris received the 12 years, which will be followed by eight years of court-supervised release.

RELATED: Prosecutors Seek 15 Years For ‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris In Child Pornography Case

According to NBC Chicago, on June 22, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Guzman sought a 15-year sentence for Harris, who she said “used what he had at his disposal” to commit his crimes. She also added that he 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.”

This caused one victim to become anxious, lose sleep, experience panic attacks and develop a fear of public restrooms, according to Guzman.

RELATED: ‘Cheer’ Star Jerry Harris Pleads Guilty To Sex Crimes

Harris’ legal team asked that their client receive a lighter, six-year prison sentence, arguing that “the reality is that [Harris] is both victimizer and victim,” having also been sexually assaulted during his childhood.

A quote from Harris was also included by the defense, reading: “I had to face what I did. I was an adult, and I took advantage of these teen boys. I was wrong. I caused harm. I was selfish and I exploited their weakness. It was all me. I realized what I did was wrong, and it was bad and I truly do feel sorry for it. And I am ashamed of myself.”

In February, Harris pleaded guilty, admitting he offered $2,000 in payments for sexually explicit images from one minor victim, persuaded a second to send him similar images and obtained masturbation videos from a third. Additionally, he admitted to sexually assaulting a fourth minor in a public bathroom.

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