Drake Bell Sentenced to 2 Years Probation for Child Endangerment
Drake Bell was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service in Cleveland court on Monday, July 12.
The ruling came nearly three weeks after the 35-year-old actor pleaded guilty via Zoom to one count of attempted endangering children, a fourth-degree felony, and one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a first-degree misdemeanor, on June 23.
“Today I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong,” he said ahead of the sentencing, per NBC News. “I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way—that was obviously not my intention. I have taken this matter very very seriously, and again I just want to apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.”
Bell, whose legal name is Jared “Drake” Bell and who starred on the Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh in the early 2000s, was arrested by the Cleveland Division of Police and charged with both counts on June 3. He was released on a personal $2,500 bond and initially pleaded not guilty to both charges.
According to the Cuyahoga Prosecutor’s Office’s Public Information Officer Tyler Sinclair, a then 15-year-old girl filed a report with her local police department in Canada in October 2018 regarding an alleged incident between her and Bell at a Cleveland nightclub in 2017. The Canadian authorities then contacted the Cleveland Division of Police, Sinclair continued, and an investigation was conducted.
Sinclair said the investigation revealed the teen had attended Bell’s concert in December 2017, where Bell “violated his duty of care” and thus “created a risk of harm” to her.
In addition, Sinclair said the investigation showed Bell had sent the young female “inappropriate social media messages” in the months leading up the concert and that the teen “had established a relationship with Bell several years prior.”
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During the sentencing, a victim impact statement was read by the young woman, now 19. She accused Bell of being a pedophile, grooming her, sexually abusing her and sending her “inappropriate messages and photos.” The judge’s ruling was based on the charges to which Bell pleaded guilty.
“Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility,” Bell’s attorney said in a statement. “The victim’s allegations that went beyond that which all parties agreed, not only lack supporting evidence but are contradicted by the facts learned through extensive investigation. As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor.”
Correction (July 12, 2021 at 3:03 p.m. PT): A previous version of this story misstated that Bell was ordered to register as a sex offender in Ohio. This is not a condition of his sentence.