Drake Bell, former star of the popular Nickelodeon show Drake & Josh, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the charges of a felony of endangering a minor and a misdemeanor of disseminating material harmful to minors.
Jared ‘Drake’ Bell, 34, of West Hollywood, California, pleaded guilty via Zoom. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12 in Cleveland.
The allegations are related to a girl who met him online and attended one of his concerts in Cleveland in 2017, when she was 15 years old.
Defense attorney Ian Friedman said Wednesday that he could not comment on the case, but said it will be revealed in the sentencing “why Mr. Bell decided to enter his guilty plea today.”
Bell had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges earlier this month. Tyler Sinclair, a spokesman for the Cuyahoga County prosecutor’s office, said at the time that the girl contacted Toronto police in October 2018 and they contacted Cleveland police, prompting an investigation.
The charge of attempting to endanger minors is related to the concert, Sinclair said, where Bell “violated his duty of care” and created a risk of harm to the victim. Sinclair did not elaborate.
Bell and the girl had “developed a relationship” online several years before the concert, Sinclair said. The charge of spreading harmful material refers to Bell sending the girl “inappropriate messages on social media,” he said. ‘
The sentence range is from probation to two years in prison. The girl, who is now an adult, will be allowed to give a statement during the sentencing hearing.
Bell, also a singer, began acting as a child, but was catapulted to stardom as a teenager with Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show and then Drake & Josh, which debuted on the channel in January 2004. The final episode aired in September 2007. Bell and his co-star Josh Beck also starred in two Drake & Josh movies.