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Drake Bell has been sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to two criminal charges involving a minor.
The former Nickelodeon star – who is best known for appearing in Drake and Josh between 2004 and 2007– pleaded guilty to attempted child endangerment, as well as disseminating harmful material to children, when he appeared in court via Zoom yesterday.
The two charges are in reference to alleged incidents involving a girl who was 15 years old at the time. She reportedly accused the star of “grooming” her since she was 12 years old, as well as allegedly sexually abusing her when she was 15 years old when she attended one of his concerts in Cleveland back in December 2017.
Drake Bell – real name Jared Bell – initially pleaded not guilty to the charges. However, during a virtual court hearing in Cleveland yesterday, he changed his plea to guilty, and has been officially sentenced to two years of probation, as well as 200 hours of community service. He is also prohibited from contacting the victim.
Before receiving his sentence, the 35-year-old actor and musician read out the following statement…
“Today I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong. I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way, but that was obviously not my intention,” he said in the statement.
“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.”
According to The New York Times, the prosecution claimed that Drake Bell – who also performs under the name Drake Campana – had sent the victim messages that were often of a sexual nature.
The judge ruled that as the victim was a minor, she did not have “the emotional or mental maturity to properly engage” in the situation…
“Your position and celebrity status enabled you to nurture this relationship,” the judge reportedly said.
“You were able to gain access to this child and you were able to gain the trust of the child. So it’s a two-edged sword, your position. I hope you truly are remorseful, I don’t know if you are.”
The victim reportedly branded Drake Bell “the epitome of evil” in a court statement, and detailed the “pain” he had allegedly caused her over the years…
“The pain that the defendant has caused me is indescribable, and it worsens every day,” the victim, who is now 19 years old, reportedly said.
Being used by somebody who meant the world to me has left me feeling more hurt than I have ever been before.
“My life hasn’t been the same since I was 15. I think about these crimes every single day. I feel like I’m in a constant dark place.
“Sometimes I wish I could disappear so I can forget about what happened.”
She also mentioned that as a result of the alleged abuse, she had suffered many panic attacks and nightmares, and her parents had spent more than $7,000 for her to go to therapy…
“He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me,” she added, in reference to the allegations that he had sent her explicit photos of his genitals on more than one occasion.
“He is a monster and a danger to children.
“Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile and that is his legacy.”
Drake Bell’s lawyer, Ian Friedman, issued a statement saying that although he had pleaded guilty and “accepted responsibility” to the two charges referenced above, he is not guilty of sending the sexually explicit content…
“Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility,” Ian Friedman said.
“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.
“Sexual registration was not imposed as Mr. Bell did not plead guilty to any such offense.”