Former “Cheer” Star Jerry Harris Pleads Guilty in Federal Case


Jerry Harris (far right) pictured next to (from left to right) Ladarius Marshall, Monica Aldama, and Gabi Butler. Harris’ sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 28th.

Beloved former star of Netflix’s “Cheer”, Jerry Harris has pleaded guilty in Federal Case. 

In September of 2020, Jerry Harris was arrested with a charge of production of child abuse imagery. These charges had originally stemmed from two fourteen year-old brothers. The boys’ mother, Kristen, says that she was going through one of the boys’ phones and saw the messages. She had tried to complain multiple times before the complaint received any attention. Harris admitted to asking the boys for photos between December 2018 and March 2020.

After some investigation, 4 more alleged victims surfaced. Harris admitted to asking for and receiving explicit photos from 10-14 underage children well after he was 18. He also admitted to knowing the age of each child. 

In October of 2020, federal prosecutors requested for Harris to remain detained while awaiting his trial. They claimed that he “does not care about being caught committing his offenses, or simply cannot stop himself.” 

Most recently, on Thursday, February 10th, Harris pleaded guilty to two of the seven charges he was facing. He pleaded guilty to receiving explicit photos of a minor as well as traveling to meet a minor with whom he had sexual relations in a plea deal with the government. With this deal, the other 5 charges were dropped. Harris now faces up to 30 years in prison. 

The cheerleader became famous after starring in Netflix’s docuseries, “Cheer”. The series follows Navarro College, one of the USA’s best junior-college cheer teams and their road to the Daytona competition. The news of the case is introduced in the fifth episode of the show’s second season, which is titled “Jerry”. 

Many of his co-stars, including Gabi Butler, Coach Monica Aldama, and Ladarius Marshall, have since spoken out about the case. Butler and Marshall both explained how upset they were when they initially found out. Marshall spoke out about being in the dark about his friend’s actions. He continued to express that, nothing “gives you the right to do stuff like this. Especially when one of your best friends went through something like that.” 

At the time that the news broke, Navarro Head Cheer Coach, Monica Aldama was competing on Dancing with the Stars. Monica describes the feeling as “out of body”, and says that she “felt she couldn’t breathe.” She says that the executive producer of DWTS came up to her and asked if she’d read the news that day. She then hands Monica her phone, and Monica reads some of the most devastating news of her life. Monica continued to perform, and proceeded back to her trailer after. She says, “I didn’t even want to look at my phone because I was scared.” 

Later that evening, the team held a meeting which Monica says “felt like a funeral.” The meeting allowed Harris’ teammates to openly cry and express their feelings toward the situation.

Toward the end of the episode, Gabi Butler explains that the team has very mixed feelings about the case. She said, “I don’t agree with what he was accused of or condone it at all… but it’s literally like your family. How are you going to just hate your family?… I can’t turn my back on him because he was there for me when I needed it.” 

Harris is scheduled for a sentencing hearing on June 28th. Until then, he will remain in federal custody in Chicago, IL.