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All about Jerry's sentence 🚩

TheCheerBuzz Newsletter
Forget the short newsletter from last week, because we’ve got a huge one today. Unfortunately, it’s not a positive newsletter, but a very important one…
(The email might get cut off because of its length. In that case, click on “view entire message” or “view online” at the top of this email.)
Summary of this week:
  • FC Internationals results update
  • Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years in prison
  • All about the sentence & court hearing
  • The people who submitted character statements (+ what they are)
  • Will the sentence have an impact on our sport?
  • “What’s your favorite level to watch?” poll results
  • Phone wallpaper
  • & more!

FC Internationals results update
Last week we mentioned that we couldn’t find the FC Internationals results. One of you guys (shoutout to Sofie) came through!
Unfortunately, they still haven’t updated the full results, but you can see the awarded Worlds bids here & the Summit bids here.
Sofie was also amazing enough to include some highs from the event! Here’s what she said:
“Zodiac AllStar Shadow scored 100%, Crimson Heat Phoenix got their first ever bid with a team they haved for 8 weeks 😳”
Thank you Sofie & congratulations to everyone who competed!
Trigger/content warning: This email contains topics like sexual abuse and assault. Please skip reading this if you need to.
Jerry Harris sentenced to 12 years in prison
Since September 2020, we’ve been keeping you updated on this case - and it’s now over.
Last week, Jerry Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison and eight years of supervised release. 
If you want more details about the hearings, keep reading!
All about the sentence & court hearing
The hearing, which took almost 7 hours, involved many different testimonies.
In addition to Jerry’s statements and those of the victims, character statements were also given (more on those below).
Here’s a part of what GQ reported about the case details:
Harris agreed to a deal which involved pleading guilty to two of seven counts, including paying a 17-year-old to send him sexually explicit photos, and traveled to Florida to “engage in illicit sexual conduct” with a 15-year-old. In 2020, he voluntarily told law enforcement that he had swapped inappropriate photos with upwards of ten to fifteen minors on Snapchat, and had sex with a 15-year-old at a 2019 competition.
In court, Jerry apologized to the victims, saying:
“I pray that your suffering comes to an end and that these proceeding provide you with needed closure. I am ashamed as I know that I took advantage of your youth and weakness. I was wrong and selfish. I caused you harm and I do not blame anyone.”
“I regret my decisions and I am deeply sorry,” he said, according to a copy of his statement that was shared by his attorney, Todd Pugh. “All I can do going forward is to try to do better and be a better person. I do not deserve forgiveness, but I do pray that one day you might find it in your hearts.”
Among the victims were twins Sam and Charlie, who first reported Jerry. USA Today wrote:
On Wednesday, the now-16-year-old twins gave statements in federal court detailing the lasting impact of Harris’ abuse, including the loss of friendships and their struggles with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Charlie said he became so afraid of public restrooms after Harris pressured him for sex in one that he stopped eating at school so he wouldn’t have to use the bathroom there.
“I knew in my heart and soul that what Jerry was doing to me and Sam was bad,” Charlie wrote in his statement, “but everyone was telling me that is just the way Jerry is and that if I were to ever to report him that EVERYONE would turn their back on me because I would have ruined the life of such an amazing person that everyone loved.”
Sam said he and his brother decided to speak up after realizing Harris was abusing others. “It made us realize that we couldn’t stay quiet – that we had to speak up, no matter how much it cost us,” he said in his statement. “And it cost us SO much.”
The people who submitted character references (+ what they are)
“Character references”, though videos and letters, were also part of the hearing.
According to Pragma Law, a character reference is…
“… a letter demonstrating the good character of a person involved in legal proceedings, written by a person who knows the accused and is willing to vouch for them.”
Here’s another explanation, from Victoria Legal Aid:
A character reference is a letter and includes your opinion of this person.”
So, these were statements submitted by people close to Jerry about his character, behavior, and personality.
t (they/them)
here’s the full list of individuals who submitted character videos/letters for jerry harris. i’m disgusted by every single one of them.
Whether or not they were defending Jerry or not is unclear, as we don’t know what each statement said. However, it does seem that the defense used the statements.
It’s important to note that if people who submitted statements were in fact defending Jerry, they were defending someone who has already (back in February) admitted to being guilty…
That list of people defending Jerry Harris is one of the many reasons people don't come forward about sexual predators. Just because someone is nice or kind to others does NOT mean they didn't abuse someone else.
Will the sentence have an impact on our sport?
A question that remains is what impact this will have on our sport, if any at all. USA Today has been reporting on the case and the cheerleading industry as a whole:
“USA TODAY found officials at that governing body, the U.S. All-Star Federation, waited four months to suspend Harris, doing so only after the news organization published an article about the allegations. USA TODAY has since reported on pervasive child protection failures throughout the sport of competitive cheerleading, including how USASF delayed investigations and failed to prevent those accused or convicted of misconduct from working with young athletes.”
This seems to already have made an impact in some ways:
“When USA TODAY began its reporting, just 21 people had been suspended or banned from the sport. Today, more than 200 people’s names appear on the list.”
But the industry-wide problems still remain. The twins’ mom shared a statement after the sentence was final:
“Now it is time for those same organizations to demonstrate an unequivocal commitment to the transparency, accountability, and substantive change necessary to prevent this from ever happening again.”
“The best way to support all the victims is to not lose sight of the fact that there is still a lot of transparency and accountability that is needed to make this sport safe. Join us continuing to call for change — we cannot let this happen to one more child.”
the twins’ mom
Unfortunately the courtroom sketch artist drew me like my arms grow out of my neck. But the important part of this image is my sons, who have their heads between their knees because they are trying to avoid puking or passing out because they are so afraid.
Read the rest of this twitter thread by clicking the tweet above!
This week's...
Most popular article
Guide: The Top 7 Best Cheerleading Shoes (Ranked by Actual Athletes)
Most popular quiz/poll
NCA themed!
Poll of the week: What’s your favorite level to watch?
  • 4% said level 1
  • 7% said level 2
  • 12% said level 3
  • 22% said level 4
  • 5% said level 5
  • 30% said level 6
  • 20% said level 7
Follow our Instagram (@the.cheerbuzz) to vote in the next poll!
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