Jerry Harris, who starred in the Netflix documentary series Cheer, has pleaded guilty in a federal sexual abuse case against him in the US.

Harris, 22, admitted to receiving child pornography and travelling to another state with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

He has been held in pre-trial detention since his arrest in Chicago in 2020.

The guilty plea came as part of a deal to avoid prosecution for five other federal charges against him.

Harris admits to repeatedly requesting a minor take sexually explicit photographs and videos of himself in exchange for money and that he travelled from Texas to Florida to engage in sexual acts with a 15-year old, the court filing said.

Harris was a breakout star of Cheer, an Emmy-winning series that follows a competitive cheerleading squad from Navarro College in Texas as they aim to win a national title.

His fame saw him win an invitation to the Academy Awards as a guest of TV host Ellen DeGeneres, where he interviewed celebrities on the red carpet.

The investigation began after a complaint from a Texas mother, whose two sons were abused by Harris.

"In an effort to put a stop to a serial predator and avert harm to other children, my sons took the brave step of speaking publicly about the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Jerry Harris," the mother said in a news release.

"Harris' admission of guilt today gives me hope that the pain and grief that my sons have suffered as a result of speaking up has not been in vain."

In a statement Harris' attorney said: "Jerry's story can only be understood through the lens of the extreme poverty, sexual abuse, and neglect of his childhood.

"With his plea of guilty, Jerry will spend the rest of his life making amends for what he has done."

Source: Reuters