Totally worth it? Showing up at the MTV Video Music Awards on Miley Cyrus' arm this past August may have cost Jesse Helt his freedom. The 22-year-old was homeless when he accompanied Cyrus to the awards show in an attempt to draw support for My Friend's Place, a shelter for homeless youth in Los Angeles. Now he's behind bars.
Helt was sentenced to six months in jail for violating the terms of his probation in Oregon, The Associated Press reports. Officers led Helt out of the courtroom in handcuffs on Tuesday after he and his lawyer asked for leniency. "I'd like to be viewed as a good person, not as a nuisance to society," Helt said.
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Helt will be serving time after being arrested in 2010 for breaking into an apartment. A year later, he violated his probation when he failed to meet with his probation officer or abide by his curfew. He also did not complete his 88 hours of community service.
He instead decided to move to Los Angeles and go after modeling jobs. When those jobs didn't pay the bills, he found himself in My Friend's Place, where he met Cyrus.
Defense attorney Whitney Boise was hired by Cyrus to help Helt, but failed to keep him out of jail. "In a few words, he wants to change his life," Boise said. "He wants to make a difference."
Helt accepted the Video of the Year award on Cyrus' behalf at this year's VMAs, and gave a speech about homelessness in America, particularly young homeless people.
"I am accepting this award for the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youth in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now. I know this because I'm one of those people," Helt told the surprised VMAs audience. "I've survived in shelters all over the city. I've cleaned your hotel rooms, I've been an extra in your movies, I've been an extra in your life. Although I've been invisible to you I have a lot of the same dreams that have brought me to you tonight."
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