Just about a year and a half since he was arrested on child pornography charges, Jerry Harris entered a guilty plea in a Chicago courtoom on Thursday, February 10.
To be specific, the former Cheer star pleaded guilty to one count each of receiving child pornography and engaging in sexual acts with a minor.
In December of 2020, Harris was charged with a seven-count indictment that was filed in US District Court in northern Illinois.
Yesterday morning, Harris confessed his guilt on counts three and seven of the indictment, telling the court:
“Yes, it’s true, Judge. Yes, I am [guilty], Judge.”
By stating as much, Harris admitted to receiving child pornography and engaging in interstate travel to meet a 15-year-old boy with whom he engaged in sexual relations.
In laying out the charges in which Harris agreed to plead guilty, Assistant State’s Attorney Kelly Guzman said Thursday that starting around July of 2020, Harris "knowingly received and intended to receive child pornography" by electronic means, including by computer.
Harris was one of the lead stars of Cheer, a cheerleading docuseries that debuted on Netflix in January 2020.
The 22-year old previously pleaded not guilty to seven felony charges in December 2020… including four counts of sexual exploitation of children, one count of enticement, one count of receipt of child pornography and one count of travel with the intent to engage in an illicit sexual contact with a minor.
Harris will be sentenced on June 28.
He faces a minimum of 5 years in prison and 20 years maximum.
Before changing his plea this week, Harris denied all allegations.
“We categorically dispute the claims made against Jerry Harris, which are alleged to have occurred when he was a teenager,” Harris’ spokesperson said via a statemet after his arrest.
“We are confident that when the investigation is completed the true facts will be revealed.”
Guzman said at the time, however, that Harris communicated with at least one minor via Snapchat and "other online messaging applications."
The attorney added that Harris repeatedly asked the minor to take sexually explicit photographs and videos of himself and send them to Harris in exchange for around $2,000.
From there, Guzman said that on May 2, 2019, Harris traveled from Dallas to Orlando — where he met a 15-year-old boy.
Guzman stated that Harris met the minor in a public bathroom where Harris sexually assaulted him.
Harris will remain in federal custody in Chicago until sentencing.
The second season of Cheer, which premiered last month, followed Harris’ former teammates’ and coaches’ return to Navarro College in the wake of his misconduct scandal.
“I can’t even wrap my head around how I should feel. This has been a tough year,” head coach Monica Aldama said on the season premiere.
“But then there are moments that are so wonderful. These little moments of success that keep you coming back, just the little things that add up…
"I keep putting one foot in front of the other, every single day. I don’t have a choice.”