Bell has avoided jail (Picture: Cuyahoga County Jail/Nickelodeon)
Drake Bell has been sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty to attempted endangering children.
The former Nickelodeon star avoided jail after pleading guilty on June 23 to attempted endangering children, a fourth-degree felony, and a misdemeanour charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
On Monday, Drake & Josh star Bell, 35, appeared virtually in a Cleveland court, where he was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service.
He is also prohibited from contacting the victim, who accused the actor of grooming her from the age of 12 and sexually abusing her when she was 15.
Speaking briefly prior to his sentencing, Bell said: ‘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. I have taken this matter very, very seriously. And again, I just want to apologise to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.’
Bell’s victim spoke publicly for the first time during the hearing, reading a statement over Zoom.
Now 19 years old, she said: ‘I chose to write this statement because I want justice to be served more than anything. The only time that the defendant has appeared in court in person was on June 3 for his arraignment, which was before the media found out about the case. He has appeared in court today over Zoom instead of appearing in person. This doesn’t surprise me and shows what a coward he is, but I am not a coward.’
She added: ‘He was calculating, he preyed on me and he sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children. He is sorry he’s finally been caught. He committed these crimes with pride, and he can give me that look all he wants but he knows exactly what I’m talking about.
‘My suffering is not for him to brag about or use as leverage about how he’s become a good person now that he’s a father.’
She also alleged that she suffers from panic attacks and nightmares and alleged that Bell sent her pictures of his genitalia.
However, Bell’s attorney Ian Friedman disputed these allegations, claiming there was no such evidence.
Judge Timothy McCormick said: ‘There were serious and disturbing allegations made here today but we can’t lose focus on what he pled to. He did not plead to sexual misconduct.
Bell pleaded guilty to two charges last month (Picture: Cuyahoga County Jail)
‘However, a grown man does not engage in inappropriate text messages to a teenager.’
Acknowledging ‘harm may have befallen’ Bell’s career and reputation, the judge added: ‘Your position and celebrity status enabled you to nurture this relationship. 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].’
Following the sentencing, Friedman said in a statement: ‘Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility. 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. Drake and his family are relieved to have this matter behind them. He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world.’
Bell is best known for playing Drake Parker in the successful Nickelodeon sitcom Drake & Josh opposite Josh Peck, and also starred in The Amanda Show.
He also has a career in music, with his last albums, The Lost Album and Sesiones En Casa being released last year.
Last week, Bell revealed that he has been married for almost three years to Janet Von Schmeling and has a son with his wife.Credit: Original article published here.