Jerry Harris Of ‘Cheer’ Decides To Plead Guilty In Federal Child Pornography Case

Jerry Harris of Cheer has decided to now plead guilty to two of the seven charges in his sex crimes case.

The 22-year-old entered his pleas at a remote U.S. District Court hearing Thursday, Feb. 10, per the plea agreement.

Harris admitted to two of the counts in a federal indictment—receiving child pornography and engaging in interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual act. Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will ask for the remaining charges to be dismissed after sentencing.

“Jerry Harris has entered a plea of guilty today because he wishes to take responsibility for his actions,” Harris’ lawyers said in a statement to E! News, “and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused the victims in this case.”

According to the plea agreement, the two counts to which Harris pleaded guilty relate to two incidents, both of which carry a maximum sentence of a total of 50 years in prison. In 2020, he allegedly repeatedly requested that a 17-year-old send him sexually explicit photos and videos in exchange for about $2,000. In 2019, he allegedly traveled from Texas to Florida with the intent of engaging in illegal sexual conduct with a 15-year-old, who he later allegedly sexually assaulted in a public bathroom.

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Harris has been in prison since FBI agents arrested him in September 2020 on one count of producing child pornography. Prosecutors alleged that Harris enticed an “underage boy to produce and transmit sexually explicit videos and photos of himself.” The criminal complaint also stated that the parent of 14-year-old twin boys told law enforcement that Harry communicated with the siblings online and “repeatedly solicited child pornography images and videos.”

Just days prior to the arrest, the boys’ family filed a lawsuit against Harris, alleging he sexually abused the twins. The brothers, identified by their first names, spoke about their allegations against Harris on the recently released second season of Cheer. The twins are not linked to the counts to which Harris pleaded guilty Thursday. The plaintiffs’ lawyer Sarah Klein shared with the outlet, “We are now deeply into the civil suit, exchanging discovery with defendants,” adding that the trial is set for September 2022.

Months after Harris’ arrest, prosecutors filed additional charges against him relating to sex crimes, for a total of seven, allegedly involving five minor boys. This past Thursday, Harris did not enter a plea to these charges (four counts of sexual exploitation of children and one count of enticement) and prosecutors are asking them to be dropped.

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It was alleged in the indictment that the acts took place between 2017 and 2020 in Florida, as well as Corsicana, Texas—home of Navarro College, where Harris was a student and member of the cheerleading team, which was featured in Cheer—and his hometown of Naperville, Ill. near Chicago.

Harris pleaded not guilty to all charges at the time. But according to the criminal complaint, he did admit in a voluntary interview with authorities days before his arrest that he had exchanged sexually explicit photos online with at least 10 to 15 people he knew were minors, attempted to entice one of the twins—then 14 years old—to engage in a sexual act in a bathroom at a Texas cheerleading event. In addition, he also admitted to having sex with a 15-year-old at a 2019 cheer event.

Following his plea agreement on Thursday, the twins’ mother, Kristen, said in a statement through the family’s lawyer, “In an effort to put a stop to a serial predator and avert harm to other children, my sons took the brave step of speaking publicly about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Jerry Harris. Harris’ admission of guilt today gives me hope that the pain and grief that my sons have suffered as a result of speaking up has not been in vain. I will continue my mission to hold Jerry Harris and his enablers fully accountable both in the courts of law and the court of public opinion.” 

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