Former ‘Cheer’ star Jerry Harris pleaded guilty on Thursday in the federal child p*rnography case against him, reversing his previous not guilty plea.
The New York Times reports that Harris reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to two of seven federal charges involving soliciting s*xually explicit photos from a minor and having illegal s*xual conduct with a minor, reports variety.com.
Judge Manish S. Shah said, after sentencing is carried out on the two charges, prosecutors will ask for the remaining five to be dropped, according to the Times.
According to a statement from Jerry Harris’ lawyers obtained by the Times, the former Netflix star seeks to “take responsibility for his actions and publicly convey his remorse for the harm he has caused the victims.”
The statement also said Harris was a victim of child s*xual abuse: “There being no safe harbour to discuss his exploitation, Jerry instead masked his trauma and put on the bright face and infectious smile that the world came to know. As we now know, Jerry became an offender himself as an older teenager.”
Harris was arrested in September 2020 on child p*rnography charges, just months after ‘Cheer’ premiered on Netflix to critical and public acclaim. He originally pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
The docu-series follows the Navarro College cheer squad on their road to the Daytona national championship.
Harris’ case is addressed in Season 2 of the series, which debuted in January, with an entire episode dedicated to telling the stories of his victims. As Variety’s Caroline Framke wrote in her review, “Most impressive a is Whiteley’s decision to not just devote the entire fifth episode to the allegations, but turn most of that episode over to the boys who first spoke out about Harris’ alleged crimes, their mother and attorney.”
“With the heartbreaking patience of people who have had to tell a painful story too many times, the boys recount their experiences and explain exactly how Harris’ celebrity in the cheerleading world — and, thanks to this very Netflix series, well beyond a” made it so hard to come forward.”