Drake Bell, who played Drake in the Nickelodeon series Drake & Josh, pleaded guilty via Zoom on Wednesday to a felony charge of attempting to endanger children and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating material harmful to juveniles stemming from a 2017 incident in Ohio involving a teenage girl.
Sentencing was set for July 12. Bell, who appeared virtually at today’s pretrial hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court under his legal name Jared Bell, gave brief answers to a short series of questions, entering guilty pleas to one count of attempted child endangering (a 4th-degree felony) and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles (a 1st-degree misdemeanor).
Watch the Zoom hearing, posted to YouTube by Cleveland TV station WKYC, below.
Bell could receive a prison sentence of up to 18 months for the felony charge, with a fine up to $5,000. The misdemeanor charge carries a sentence of up to six months in county jail and a fine up to $1,000. The actor faces three years of “post-release control” following the possible prison term.
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The charges against Bell stem from a December 2017 meeting between the then-31-year-old actor and a 15-year-old girl, when Bell was in Cleveland to perform a concert. Police have not specified what occurred at the club, but say the meeting followed months of inappropriate social media messages, and that the two had known one another for several years. The girl subsequently filed a police report in Canada, and Canadian authorities reportedly then contacted Cleveland police.
The victim in the case is permitted to provide the court with a victim impact statement prior to sentencing.
The sitcom Drake & Josh aired on Nickelodeon from 2004-07, and featured Bell and co-star Josh Peck as stepbrothers. He more recently has become a voice actor and musician.
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