The Netflix docuseriesCheer first came out in January 2020, right before the pandemic fucked us all the way up. Seeing the Navarro College cheer kids twerk themselves to the bone to “make mat” and “get to Daytona [National Cheer Competition]” while coach Monica Aldama looked on, totally emotionless and dead-behind-the-eyes, was inspiring–especially as we were stuck in our homes Clorox wiping our groceries or, for an exciting change, making sourdough bread starters. One Navarro cheerleader who really stood out and gained notoriety was Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris. He presented himself as a big, fuzzy teddy bear with a positive attitude and would give “mat talks” to inspire his teammates through tough times. But, he had some demons lurking under his seemingly innocent façade. As it turns out, the FBI started investigating him in late 2019 for possessing child sex abuse materials; he was soliciting obscene pics and videos, and even making plans to engage in sex with teenage boys at cheer competitions. Yesterday, Jerry was found guilty and has just been sentenced to 12 years behind bars for his crimes.
According to TMZ, Jerry, 22, was in court yesterday for sentencing and was facing as much as half a century in the slammer.
…Harris was facing up to 50 years behind bars after pleading guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography, and one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct…federal prosecutors recommended Harris spend 15 years locked away.
The “Cheer” star had been under investigation by the FBI dating back to 2019. Authorities claimed he was soliciting sex from minors at cheer competitions, and coercing teen boys to send inappropriate photos.
Jerry ended up being arrested in September 2020, and the second season of Cheer even delved into the team’s processing of the complicated situation. While awaiting trial, Jerry was denied bond and was held in custody up until Wednesday’s hearing, where friends and supporters gave character statements and Jerry apologized to those that he victimized.
Harris was in court for sentencing Wednesday, where a string of his friends and supporters read statements about the disgraced reality star’s character…Jerry showed remorse for the crimes he committed, directly addressing the trauma he caused his victims. “I am ashamed as I know that I took advantage of your youth and weakness. I was wrong and selfish. I caused you harm and I do not blame anyone. I regret my decisions and I am deeply sorry.”
Here’s a list of people who were character witnesses/wrote character letters. Several notable Navarro names here, including Coach Monica.
here’s the full list of individuals who submitted character videos/letters for jerry harris. i’m disgusted by every single one of them. pic.twitter.com/wl7dI7Zb4n
— t (they/them) (@iasfsuccz) July 6, 2022
Ultimately, the judge decided that Jerry will spend 12 years behind bars followed by 8 years of supervised release and must pay $35,000 to the AVAA crime victims fund. Jerry’s attorney, Todd S. Pugh gave a statement after the trial.
…”Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris is exceedingly grateful for Judge Shah’s recognition of his humanity, worthiness, rehabilitative potential. While Jerry has a difficult road ahead of him, his uncompromising spirit and strength has carried him through challenging times before. He has nothing but empathy and remorse for the people he has harmed and hopes that [the] proceeding provided them some peace.”
Some of these Navarro kids have spent 5+ years at a community college just to continue competing in cheer competitions, but I don’t think Jerry will make mat again 12 years after the fact. But, maybe he’ll have plenty of time to mat-talk himself into a not-evil human being who doesn’t use his fleeting cheerleading fame to assert power over innocent children.