“Cheer” star Jeremiah “Jerry” Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Joseph D. Fitzpatrick.
“The sentence is 12 years in prison, to be followed by 8 years of court-supervised release,” Fitzpatrick said to CNN in an email.
Harris, a former star of the Netflix reality docuseries “Cheer,” pleaded guilty in February to one count each of receiving child pornography and engaging in sexual acts with a minor.
In a statement released on Thursday, Todd Pugh, Harris’ attorney, said Harris “is exceedingly grateful” for the judge’s “recognition of his humanity, worthiness, and 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 today’s proceeding provided them some peace,” Pugh said.
Pugh also provided to CNN the statement Harris made to the court, in which Harris apologized for the “trauma” his abuse caused.
“I pray that your suffering comes to an end and that these proceeding provide you with needed closure. 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,” Harris said in his statement.
In December 2020, Harris was charged with a seven-count indictment that was filed in U.S. District Court in northern Illinois.
In a plea agreement with the government, Harris pleaded guilty to two of the charges from that indictment, stating that he received child pornography and engaged in interstate travel to meet a 15-year-old boy with whom he engaged in sexual relations.
“Cheer” follows the cheer team from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. Harris is one of several students whose stories were spotlighted in the series, which debuted on the streaming service in January 2020.
CNN’s Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.