Jerry Harris, who previously starred in the Netflix docuseries Allegria, fu condannato a 12 years in prison for child pornography charges.
Harris, 22, was handed the sentence on Wednesday, USA Today rapporti.
Harris appeared in court for the sentencing where his close friends and family spoke about his integrity and character, per TMZ.
Dopo aver servito 12 anni, Harris will complete eight years of a court-supervised release, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, detto Notizie NBC.
Secondo l'outlet, prosecutors said Harris should get 15 anni, alleging that he used “his status as a competitive cheerleader, his social media persona, and eventually his celebrity and money” to convince minor boys to send him sexually inappropriate photos and messages.
Prosecutors claimed Harris was a self-proclaimed “mentor who could be trusted,” and would pay his victims for sexual conduct. If they declined, lui “threatened to disseminate the videos they had sent if they refused to continue,” prosecutors alleged according to NBC News.
In their request for Harris to receive a six-year sentence, the reality star’s legal team said he suffered sexual abuse himself when he was underage, which caused him to have a “skewed version of what he understood to be appropriate relationships,” per l'outlet.
A lawyer for Harris did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
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Nel mese di settembre 2020, the prominent cheerleader and television personality was sued by teenage brothers, chi eravamo 13 e “star-struck” when they met him, for allegedly soliciting sex and nude photos from them. The same week, Harris was arrested on suspicion of producing child pornography.
Tre mesi dopo, in dicembre 2020, a seven-count indictment was unsealed accusing Harris of additional criminal acts that took place in Florida, Illinois and Texas — all involving minors and sexual in nature. Lui dichiarato non colpevole to each of the seven charges a week later.
A febbraio, Harris departed from his original plea and dichiarato colpevole to two out of seven sexual abuse and child pornography charges — receiving child pornography and crossing state lines for the purpose of engaging in an illicit sexual act with a minor under the age of 15.
As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, the other charges were dropped, Il New York Times segnalato.
Harris’ defense team shared a statement with PEOPLE following his change of plea, claiming that he made the decision to plead guilty “because he wishes to take responsibility for his actions and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused the victims in this case.”
“Jerry is a 22-year-old young man whose story can only be understood through the lens of the extreme poverty, sexual abuse, and neglect of his childhood,” la dichiarazione ha continuato. “Jerry was himself exploited, manipulated, and sexually abused as a child within the cheer community in a way that perversely made him believe that this sexual conduct was somehow normal when it was not.”
Harris rose to prominence when Allegria premiered on Netflix at the start of 2020, and his fan base continued to grow when he made headlines for serving as Ellen DeGeneres‘ correspondent at the Oscars e providing encouragement during the COVID-19 lockdowns that followed shortly after.
Only a few months into his newfound stardom, the sex crime allegations halted his career.
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