Jerry Harris said “I’m not a bad guy” as he was sentenced to 12 years behind bars on charges related to child pornography and solicitation of a minor.
He star of hit Netflix series Cheer apologized to his victims and said he was “still figuring out who I am” at a hearing in a federal court in Chicago on Wednesday. .
Prosecutors have urged a lengthy sentence, saying Harris’ status as a popular celebrity has allowed him to “convince and entice” his young victims to engage in sexual conduct. sex.
Judge Manish S Shah told the social media star and cheerleader to treat the sentence as “an expression of the seriousness of your crime, tempered with some hope that all neither is lost to you or to your victim and that in the future some healing may occur”.
Harris, who has remained in custody at a federal detention facility since his arrest in September 2020, appears in court for a sentence that lasts about seven hours.
Addressing his victims before receiving his sentence, he said: “I am deeply sorry for all the hurt I have caused you.
“I pray deeply that your suffering will end.”
He added: “I am not a bad person. I’m still figuring out who I am and what my purpose is.”
Notable figures listed as authors of characters used by his defense include other Cheer stars such as Navarro college head coach Monica Aldama, teammate Morgan Simianer , and Harris cheerleader Gabi Butler’s parent.
Harris, 22, previously pleaded guilty to one count of traveling with intent to commit unlawful sexual conduct and one count of receiving child pornography.
His plea was made during a plea hearing in a US federal court in Chicago in February.
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Harris pleaded guilty to two of seven counts against him, including persuading a 17-year-old to send him sexually explicit pictures for money.
The other number stems from a trip he took to Florida for the purpose of “performing illegal sex acts” with a 15-year-old child.
US prosecutors have agreed to drop the remaining five charges under a plea agreement.
The U.S. charge of child pornography carries a sentence of between 5 years and 20 years, and the second charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.
Harris, from the Chicago suburb of Naperville, is the breakout star of Cheer, a series that follows cheerleaders from Navarro University in Corsicana, Texas, as they search for a national title.
He was arrested in September 2020 on charges of producing child pornography.
At the time, prosecutors alleged that he solicited videos and photos from two 14-year-old brothers.
According to the complaint, federal prosecutors say Harris admitted to repeatedly asking a minor to provide sexually explicit videos and images between December 2018 and March 2020.
In December 2020, he was indicted on more counts of alleged misconduct in Illinois, Florida and Texas.
According to the indictment, Harris is accused of sexually soliciting minors at cheerleading competitions and persuading teenage boys to send him obscene photos and videos of themselves.
Harris later admitted to FBI agents about asking a teenage boy to send him pictures of himself and asking for child pornography to be taken on Snapchat of at least 10 to 15 other people that he We know it’s a minor, according to the indictment.
Cheer’s second series deals with the Harris investigation, and dedicates an entire episode to the events, titled “Jerry”.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/jerry-harris-says-i-am-not-an-evil-person-as-he-receives-12-year-sentence-41820575.html Jerry Harris Says ‘I’m Not A Bad Guy’ As He Receives 12-Year Sentence