Drake Bell Sentenced to 2 Years Probation in Child Endangerment Case
After pleading guilty to attempted endangering of a child and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, actor Drake Bell has been sentenced.
Bell received two years probation and 200 hours of community service.
According to multiple reports, the case involves inappropriate online chats with a 15-year-old in 2017. After trading messages for months, the victim reportedly attended Bell’s concert that December in Cleveland.
Prosecutors claim that Bell “violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim."
As part of his sentence, Bell will not be allowed to contact the victim.
During a hearing on Monday, the victim spoke for the first time. Over Zoom, 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."
Along with claiming that he sent photos of his genitalia to her, she stated, “He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children…. Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile and that is his legacy."
Bell’s lawyer Ian Friedman was quick to dispute the victim’s claim that explicit photos were exchanged between her and Bell.
In his own statement, Bell told the judge via Zoom, “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 apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions."
In response to his statement, the judge declared that Bell “did take advantage” of the victim, who didn’t have “the emotional or mental maturity to properly engage.” 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, Bell’s lawyer said, “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,” his legal team continued. “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."