Drake Bell faces up to two years in prison as he pleads guilty to attempted child endangerment
19 hrs ago
Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell has pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted child endangerment and faces up to two years in prison.© Provided by Evoke.ie
The actor, who is best known for his role in the teen series Drake and Josh, was arrested earlier this month in Cleveland. According to court documents obtained by PEOPLE, he was charged with attempted child endangerment and disseminating material harmful to juveniles.
The 34-year-old initially pled not guilty to the charges brought against him but later retracted and agreed to a plea deal, admitting he was guilty of both charges during a virtual court appearance.
On a live stream of the pre-trial hearing, which was broadcast by local ABC affiliate News 5, on June, 23 the judge said: ‘My understanding is there’s been a plea agreement reached where the defendant will plead guilty to count one attempted endangering children, a felony in the fourth-degree [and] plead guilty to count two – disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a misdemeanour the first-degree.’© Provided by Evoke.ie Drake Bell has pleaded guilty to two charges of child endangerment. Pic: Getty
The former Nickelodeon alum was informed by the judge that charges of attempted child endangerment carry a sentence of anywhere from six to 18 months in prison in monthly increments, and/or a fine of $5,000 dollars (€4,185 euro).
Bell was also told by the judge that the second charge against him carried a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of $1,000 dollars (€837 euro).
‘However, if you go to prison, upon your release, you could be subjected to a discretionary period of three years post-release control. Post-release control could involve restrictions on your activities,’ the judge said.
He went on to say: ‘If you were to violate those restrictions, you can be returned to prison, [for] up to a maximum of one-half of your original sentence.’© Provided by Evoke.ie Drake Bell sent inappropriate messages to a 15-year-old girl. Pic: Getty
The judge asked Bell if he understood the potential penalties, to which he replied, ‘I do, Your Honour. Yes.’
According to local NBC affiliate KXAN, the alleged child endangerment incidents took place in December 2017. It was reported that Bell had engaged in an inappropriate conversation, that was at times sexual in its nature, with a girl who was 15-years-old at the time.
The arrest of the actor, born Jared Bell, came one year after his ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt, accused him of physical and verbal abuse.
Bell previously stated that he ‘never abused’ his ex-girlfriend ‘or did so many of the other things Melissa falsely claimed on her TikTok video.’