5 Things To Know About Former Navarro College Cheerleader Jerry Harris
On July 6, 2022, the former cheerleader and youth cheer coach was sentenced to 12 years in prison for several charges relating to child sexual abuse material and child sexual assault.
Jerry Harris was the ultimate hype man for his teammates, but he was carrying a sinister secret.
Harris was part of the prestigious Navarro College cheer team
The Navarro College cheer team is a national championship co-ed squad based at Navarro College, a junior college in Corsicana, Texas. Navarro’s cheer squad has won 14 National Cheerleaders Association Championships, and Harris was an integral part of the team, known for his pep talks and positivity as he often cheered from the sidelines instead of performing at competitions.
The Illinois native made the talk show rounds before the feds raided his house
In early 2020, Harris was 20 years old and found himself appearing on the Today Show with Hoda and Jenna, the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and was parodied by Kenan Thompson on an episode of Saturday Night Live, but his fame outside the cheer world was short-lived. In September 2020, federal investigators executed a search warrant at the man’s Naperville, Illinois home after a set of underage twins in Texas alleged Harris coerced them into sending him sexually explicit images of themselves. Harris was arrested and charged with the production of child sexual abuse material.
There could be more than a dozen alleged victims of Harris
The twins who came forward said they were just 13, and Harris was 19, when he began harassing them via social media and in-person at cheer meets. Harris reportedly asked the boys to send him explicit photos of themselves. The civil suit filed against Harris claims he took one of the twins to a secluded restroom at a cheer competition and begged the child to perform oral sex. According to the New York Times, Harris voluntarily told the FBI that he’d exchanged explicit messages with “10-15 people” he knew were underage, had sex with a 15-year-old, and paid another minor to send him explicit photos.
At least one of his former teammates writes to him in jail
Former Navarro cheerleader Gabi Butler has revealed she still communicates with Harris. While she was clear that she does not condone anything Harris is accused of, she revealed that she and Harris write back and forth to one another while he is in jail, and Butler is “hoping for the best.”
Harris was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison
Three months after the FBI raid, Harris was indicted on additional charges of sexual exploitation of children, receiving and attempting to receive child sexual abuse material, and traveling with an attempt to engage in sexual contact with a minor. Harris’s crimes allegedly took place in Texas, Florida, and Illinois. Harris asked to be released on bond until his trial, but a federal judge declined, saying that granting him bond would pose a “significant danger to the community.”
In Februry 2022, Harris pleaded guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography, and one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. He faced up to 50 years in prison but in July 2022, he was sentenced to 12 years.
If you or someone you love has been affected by sexual assault, you can find help in your area by calling the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area. Calls are confidential. You can also chat with the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.