Jared “Drake” Bell, the 34-year-old former star of “Drake & Josh,” which aired on Nickelodeon from 2004 to 2007, pleaded guilty via Zoom to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, according to The Associated Press.
Bell initially pleaded not guilty, but his attorney Ian Friedman said Wednesday that it will be revealed at sentencing “why Mr. Bell chose to enter today’s plea.”
Judge Timothy McCormick told the actor: “If you plead guilty, that is an admission that you did commit these crimes,” according to WTRF.com.
Tyler Sinclair, a spokesperson for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, said earlier this month that the victim filed a complaint with Canadian police in October 2018. Investigators then contacted Cleveland police who started an investigation into the case.
Investigators said Bell and the young fan had “developed a relationship” prior to the concert and he had allegedly sent her inappropriate social media messages, according to Cleveland Fox affiliate WJW.
The prosecutor’s office said Bell violated his duty of care and, “in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim.”
Bell has been out on $2,500 personal bond since his arraignment on June 3, but is scheduled to be sentenced July 12. His accuser is expected to provide a statement at that time.
Bell was catapulted to stardom as a teen with Nickelodeon’s “The Amanda Show” and later “Drake & Josh,” before starting a singing career.
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