Former Cheer star Jerry Harris was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in federal prison on child pornography and sexual abuse charges.
The sentence will be followed by eight years of court-supervised release, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Joseph D. Fitzpatrick told NBC News.
Prosecutors had requested Harris get 15 years in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release, while defense attorneys argued for a six-year prison term.
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Before the judge sentenced Harris, the athlete and TV personality apologized to his victims in court.
“I am deeply sorry for all the trauma my abuse has caused you. I pray deep down that your suffering comes to an end,” he said.
The breakout star of Netflix’s cheerleading docuseries Cheer was arrested in September 2020. Prosecutors said he solicited pornographic images and videos from 14-year-old twin brothers on multiple occasions.
Additional charges were filed in December 2020. The indictment accused Harris of soliciting sex with minors at cheerleading competitions and convincing teenage boys to send him obscene photographs and video of themselves.
Harris, now 22, pleaded not guilty at the time to seven felony counts.
He later struck a deal with prosecutors and in February, pleaded guilty to one count each of receiving child pornography and engaging in interstate travel for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual acts with a minor under the age of 15.
According to prosecutors, the Naperville, IL native first contacted one of the twin boys on Instagram in 2018. The teen said he sent nude photographs to Harris. The other boy alleged that Harris asked him for photographs but he said no.
The twin brothers at the center of the case told their story on the second season of Cheer.