Former cheer coach sentenced in child sex case

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - Former Henrico-based cheerleading coach Maurice “Moe” Jerralds was sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing four girls. Judge Catherine Hammond called the case one of the worst she had seen in her 13 years as a judge.

"This is an unusual case," Judge Hammond said in court while she addressed the emotionless Jerralds. "This is a talented, generous and thoughtful man who has close family and  friends and many admirers. Then I heard the evidence at this trial and it doesn't fit together. It shows just how complicated people can be."

Jerralds faced up to 90 years in prison for the crimes. Judge Hammond said she felt that suspending 70 years of the sentence, leaving Jerralds to serve five years per victim, was appropriate.

In June, Judge Hammond convicted Jerralds on 11 counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. Jerralds was a gymnastics and cheerleading coach at USA Gym from 1999 - 2010.

While Jerralds showed little emotion as the judge read the sentence, he did show emotion when friends and family took the stand in his defense prior to sentencing, according reporter Tracy Sears who sat in on today's sentencing.

Maurice's older brother, twin sister and the mother of a former cheerleading student testified on Jerralds’ behalf during the hearing. The student’s mother said in court that she considered Jerralds a third parent to her daughter.