- Jerry Harris will serve eight years of court-supervised release after his prison term
- The former "Cheer" star was also ordered to pay $5,200 in fines
- He pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography and using interstate travel with the intent to elicit a sexual act with a minor
Jerry Harris, who previously starred in the Netflix docuseries "Cheer," was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Wednesday, five months after he pleaded guilty to child pornography and sex crime charges.
Following his prison term, Harris, 22, will serve eight years of court-supervised release, Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, told NBC News.
In addition to this, the former Netflix star was ordered to pay $5,200 in fines, court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight showed.
In September 2020, Harris was sued by teenage brothers, who were 13 when they met him, for allegedly soliciting sex and nude photos from them. The same week, the TV personality was arrested on suspicion of producing child pornography.
Harris was indicted in December 2020 on seven counts of receiving and attempting to receive child pornography and of persuading minors to engage in sexual contact from August 2017 to August 2020. The acts involved victims in Florida, Illinois and Texas, prosecutors said.
Harris initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. But in February, he pleaded guilty to two of the charges from that indictment: receiving child pornography and using interstate travel with the intent to elicit a sexual act with a minor.
As part of his plea agreement, the other charges were dropped.
Federal prosecutors had sought a 15-year sentence for Harris, alleging that he used "his status as a competitive cheerleader, his social media persona, and eventually his celebrity and money" to persuade underage boys into sending sexually explicit content, according to NBC News.
Harris would pay his victims for sexual conduct, and if they declined, he "threatened to disseminate the videos they had sent if they refused to continue," prosecutors alleged.
Lawyers for Harris had asked for six years, noting that the former Netflix star was himself a victim of sexual abuse as a child.
In a statement to ET following his change of plea, Harris' lawyers said he wanted 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," the statement said.
"The criminal conduct in this case also took place in the context of a competitive Cheer Community where inappropriately sexualizing and sexually abusing children was far too common and too often overlooked," the lawyers continued. "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, who has remained in custody since his 2020 arrest, was getting mental health treatment and going to therapy, according to the statement.