All-Star Jerry Harris Sentencing

May 20, 2022
5
1
15
Role:
Athlete
I'm an adult on an open team that leans more towards the adolescent/teen age, and when I saw that, my jaw hit the floor.

Like....WHAT?

They're insinuating that the age grid allows for the potential for inappropriate interaction between older and younger athletes. You can have 18/19 y.o. on a team with 13-year-olds. Which, okay. But to use it as an excuse for his actions? I can't. I'm sorry.

The grid does need to be amended, though.

Make it something like:
Tiny: 5-7
Mini: 6-8
Youth: 6-10
Junior: 8-13
Senior: 14-18/19
Open: 16+
 

catlady

Cheer Parent
Jun 6, 2012
2,700
6,147
2,206
Role:
Parent
Sadness. I'm incredibly sad and heartbroken for those kids who trusted and looked up to Jerry. And, I'm incredibly sad and heartbroken Jerry chose to use his incredible personality and talent to abuse children.

I don't care how many kids are surrounding you, it is a deliberate choice to use power or celebrity to prey on kids. No excuses.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cheers4frenchtoast

quitthedrama

I buy my Insta followers
Cheer Parent
Feb 4, 2010
5,469
19,635
4,285
Role:
Parent
I am in no way condoning or defending, but I think most of us who have been in allstar cheer for a while can confidently say that Jerry grew up in a very problematic culture within allstar cheer and was guilty of doing what many others do - and consider normal - and he just happened to get caught. It is a very real issue that continues to get ignored by USASF, coaches and gym owners.
 

luv2cheer92

Staff member
FBOD:LLFB
Mar 15, 2011
9,563
15,754
4,226
30
DFW
totalcheerperformance.com
Role:
Athlete
Sadness. I'm incredibly sad and heartbroken for those kids who trusted and looked up to Jerry. And, I'm incredibly sad and heartbroken Jerry chose to use his incredible personality and talent to abuse children.

I don't care how many kids are surrounding you, it is a deliberate choice to use power or celebrity to prey on kids. No excuses.
I'm sure it didn't help things, but several instances happened before he was really even known or famous. The first interactions with the twins who came forward was back in 2018. But completely agree, no excuses no matter what.
 

catlady

Cheer Parent
Jun 6, 2012
2,700
6,147
2,206
Role:
Parent
I am in no way condoning or defending, but I think most of us who have been in allstar cheer for a while can confidently say that Jerry grew up in a very problematic culture within allstar cheer and was guilty of doing what many others do - and consider normal - and he just happened to get caught. It is a very real issue that continues to get ignored by USASF, coaches and gym owners.
Sincere question:
What do you, or others, think the USASF, coaches, and gym owners could have done to prevent this?

The "problematic culture" is actually "vulnerability," and a governing body or business can do very little to make children less vulnerable, especially when 83% of the initial contact is done on social media. <Article>

 

quitthedrama

I buy my Insta followers
Cheer Parent
Feb 4, 2010
5,469
19,635
4,285
Role:
Parent
Sincere question:
What do you, or others, think the USASF, coaches, and gym owners could have done to prevent this?

The "problematic culture" is actually "vulnerability," and a governing body or business can do very little to make children less vulnerable, especially when 83% of the initial contact is done on social media. <Article>
If you don't think coaches/gym owners know what goes on with many of these relationships and look the other way you are either blind or work in the industry yourself and want to deflect. I have no doubt that Jerry was involved in relationships/activity that were illegal when he was younger. It's a cycle. A very well known coach at a popular gym started <publicly> dating an athlete pretty much the day the athlete turned 18. The staff at that gym is kidding themselves if they think the relationship didn't start earlier. It is public knowledge that complaints have been filed about coaches and ignored multiple times over the years. NCA college nationals had an athlete on the banned list compete - meaning the coach of that program, and the NCA staff didn't do their jobs. When it was brought to NCA's attention the "solution" was to remove the videos and results of that particular college and the athlete could not compete in partner stunt. You have a convicted sex offender on the USASF preferred vendor list. I could go on for pages with examples.
 

catlady

Cheer Parent
Jun 6, 2012
2,700
6,147
2,206
Role:
Parent
If you don't think coaches/gym owners know what goes on with many of these relationships and look the other way you are either blind or work in the industry yourself and want to deflect. I have no doubt that Jerry was involved in relationships/activity that were illegal when he was younger. It's a cycle. A very well known coach at a popular gym started <publicly> dating an athlete pretty much the day the athlete turned 18. The staff at that gym is kidding themselves if they think the relationship didn't start earlier. It is public knowledge that complaints have been filed about coaches and ignored multiple times over the years. NCA college nationals had an athlete on the banned list compete - meaning the coach of that program, and the NCA staff didn't do their jobs. When it was brought to NCA's attention the "solution" was to remove the videos and results of that particular college and the athlete could not compete in partner stunt. You have a convicted sex offender on the USASF preferred vendor list. I could go on for pages with examples.
The Department of Social Services in MO had 1780 instances of where foster children went missing in a 2 1/2 year span. After further investigation they found over 110,000 kid's had gone missing in the foster care system in the US for an avg of 37 days. <article> I could go on with pages and examples where government was supposed to watch over and protect kid's, but they didn't. Deflection or realistic?

The question I asked was, "What do you, or others, think the USASF, coaches, and gym owners could have done to prevent this?" Your response was, "I must turn a blind eye or work in the industry and want to deflect." No offense, but that was "deflecting." I have said in many posts, "Don't trust anyone with your kid's, because no one will protect them better than you." Fact: This is an industry with a high percentage of textbook "vulnerable." "No," I do not believe a government body or business can prevent "vulnerability."
Can they do a better job of keeping them from competing or working? "Absolutely." However, that doesn't negate the fact, 83% of initial contact is via SM and the industry has a high percentage of vulnerable kid's and active on SM.
Deflection or reality?
 

quitthedrama

I buy my Insta followers
Cheer Parent
Feb 4, 2010
5,469
19,635
4,285
Role:
Parent
The Department of Social Services in MO had 1780 instances of where foster children went missing in a 2 1/2 year span. After further investigation they found over 110,000 kid's had gone missing in the foster care system in the US for an avg of 37 days. <article> I could go on with pages and examples where government was supposed to watch over and protect kid's, but they didn't. Deflection or realistic?

The question I asked was, "What do you, or others, think the USASF, coaches, and gym owners could have done to prevent this?" Your response was, "I must turn a blind eye or work in the industry and want to deflect." No offense, but that was "deflecting." I have said in many posts, "Don't trust anyone with your kid's, because no one will protect them better than you." Fact: This is an industry with a high percentage of textbook "vulnerable." "No," I do not believe a government body or business can prevent "vulnerability."
Can they do a better job of keeping them from competing or working? "Absolutely." However, that doesn't negate the fact, 83% of initial contact is via SM and the industry has a high percentage of vulnerable kid's and active on SM.
Deflection or reality?
I gave you real life examples to your question which you chose to ignore just like gyms, coaches, and the governing body does.
Actions should have consequences. Every example I gave was ignored by the coaches, gym owners/university administration, the EP and the governing body. Even when forced to address the banned athlete at NCA, the "consequence" was to wave a magic eraser and make the result and video disappear from the website.
 
  • Like
Reactions: oncecoolcoachnowmom

catlady

Cheer Parent
Jun 6, 2012
2,700
6,147
2,206
Role:
Parent
I gave you real life examples to your question which you chose to ignore just like gyms, coaches, and the governing body does.
Actions should have consequences. Every example I gave was ignored by the coaches, gym owners/university administration, the EP and the governing body. Even when forced to address the banned athlete at NCA, the "consequence" was to wave a magic eraser and make the result and video disappear from the website.
And, I showed you how our government failed 110,000+ kids. Once again, that had nothing to do with my question, which is fine, but I'm not the one deflecting. I asked, "What do YOU, or OTHERS, think the USASF, coaches, and gym owners could have done to PREVENT this?" Not examples of how they ignored it, which I have never questioned or stated otherwise. If your answer is "give consequences," fair enough, but I don't believe "banning or firing" (even though I think they should be) is going to prevent this when 83% of initial contact is made via SM. Even if every predator was banned from gyms and venues, AS consequences don't carry over to hotels, parking lots, pools, parks, etc, and the very reason I keep saying parents better stop believing a youth sport governing body or gym can protect their kid's.
 
Dec 28, 2009
3,005
11,482
4,361
California
Role:
Coach
I asked, "What do YOU, or OTHERS, think the USASF, coaches, and gym owners could have done to PREVENT this?"

I would be happy to answer this, as I have a lot of thoughts and opinions. Obviously athlete to athlete manipulation like this case is a bit different, but I'm going to include coaches because that is the majority of the issues in our industry and Jerry was also a coach.

First, what could have been done to prevent this?

-No athlete should be alone with a coach, EVER. This also means no coach should be giving rides, or hanging out with the family outside of the gym. I understand that we try and make everyone "family" because we want them to remain loyal to our gym, but that is part of the big problem as to why this is running rampant in our sport. This is a business, not a family. Don't want to do this? You don't have a job.

-A true network of coaches working together to protect the athletes, not their gym. If someone shady leaves your gym and gym B calls for a reference, you TELL THEM. Gyms should be held liable if they hire someone without checking references and getting feedback on them.

-Parents should be educated and reminded constantly that communication should be between them and the coach if necessary, not directly with the kid. Coaches that are communicating with children through social media should be immediately fired.

-A universal hiring portal for coaches with background checks and references included and linked. Many of these coaches fall through the cracks because they hop from gym to gym, and gyms accept them with little information or background because we are desperate for coaches. Many gyms are begging for coaches, especially smaller gyms that are experiencing quick growth. They are just happy to find someone wants to work there and take some of the responsibility off of the overworked owners, and they get too much freedom too quickly. There needs to be a better and easier way to find qualified coaches. I believe this also expands to choreography once it is up and running to find people that are qualified, safe and not going to take your money and run.

-Athletes at travel competitions should be monitored at all times. Look, either you are supervised by a parent or the gym takes responsibility, but the fact is that most of the time these travel comps are a free for all. I now coach a high school team, and I am responsible for them from the second we leave for a travel competition until they get home. I check rooms. They have curfews. I will check bags, take phones, tape doors, whatever it takes. I have put a chair in the hallway and slept out there to make sure nobody was leaving their rooms. They KNOW this is not a big party, and they act responsibly because that has been communicated to them and there are consequences. I know a gym doesn't want to do this, but I have been to worlds. I know what happens in the bushes of all star sports. SOMEONE has to take responsibility for supervision if you don't want to be responsible for the outcomes that can happen. If parents want to do it, great. But someone has to step up.

-More secure competitions. There should be no wandering into dark halls or bathrooms. There shouldn't be random creepers that can walk up and get tickets. There should be a link sent to the gyms where parents and friends buy directly and there are no walk up ticket sales. You can buy day of with the link, but no walk up tables to get a wristband. What? This prevents EPs from being cash only and taking home $50k in unclaimed cash at the end of the event? Boo hoo. Find a different shady job then.

Second, what do we do moving forward to prevent this from ever happening again?

-A governing body that is in NO way affiliated with an EP or gym. Everyone is? No, they aren't. There are people that would give up their affiliations to help the entire sport. They cannot have any financial interest in a gym or EP to be considered. This means a governing body that would actually do what is best for the sport, NOT what is best for their business. This means a governing body that would actually ban coaches and gyms that break the rules (shocker I know).

-An actual banned list NOT created by the governing body if the governing body is financially invested in the outcome. A true governing body could be in charge of this if above paragraph is true. If a gym owner gets accused of doing anything inappropriate with a minor, they should not be allowed to continue in the sport. This is their career and they've worked so hard and it's not fair? Boo hoo. Find a new career. People change careers all the time, this will not kill them. This could however cause permanent damage to a child and the amount of money their dumb, franchised gym brings in SHOULD NOT MATTER.


I'll stop here. I'm sure nobody read all of that and honestly, I could probably write ten more things but these are important ones off of the top of my head.
 
Dec 28, 2009
3,005
11,482
4,361
California
Role:
Coach
I don't believe "banning or firing" (even though I think they should be) is going to prevent this when 83% of initial contact is made via SM. Even if every predator was banned from gyms and venues, AS consequences don't carry over to hotels, parking lots, pools, parks, etc, and the very reason I keep saying parents better stop believing a youth sport governing body or gym can protect their kid's.

Guess I'm not done. Oops, hope everyone was in the mood for my novels today. :D

Look, I don't think a gym alone can prevent this completely and agree that parents need to be involved. However, the gym gives them access. These coaches don't magically appear and immediately have the trust of the athlete and parents... They get in, spend tons of time and slowly groom these kids (and often the parents). If some 25 year old approaches a 15 year old in a parking lot or pool, that's gross and weird and most kids are not giving them the time of day. But when the 25 year old is like "family" and coaches you and spots your tumbling and helps you reach your goals, suddenly it's not as creepy.

There is no magic answer to stop this. It's a collaboration between parents, gym owners, EPs, and a real governing body to at least minimize these risks and educate everyone. Right now, we have an industry that values money over the safety of the athletes and that right there is the biggest problem.