Jared Drake Bell, best known for Nickelodeon’s Drake and Josh, has been sentenced to two years probation for child endangerment, People reports. He is also required to complete 200 hours of community service.
Charges were brought against the former child star in early June, and on June 24th he pleaded guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. On Monday, July 12th, the 35-year-old actor appeared virtually in a Cleveland court to hear his sentence.
His victim, now 19, made a public statement for the first time during the hearing. She called the actor, “The epitome of evil,” claiming that he began grooming her at the age of 12 and allegedly sexually abused her at the age of 15, sending her photos of his genitals.
“I chose to write this statement because I want justice to be served more than anything,” she said on Zoom. “The only time that the defendant has appeared in court in person was on June 3rd 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 continued, “He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me,” adding, “He is a monster and a danger to children.”
She finished with, “Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile and that is his legacy.”
But the charges brought against Bell were of a less serious nature, and he will not have to register as a sex offender. “As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor,” his lawyers said in a statement. “Sexual registration was not imposed as Mr. Bell did not plead guilty to any such offense.”
Bell and his lawyer further disputed the claims that he had sent explicit photographs. The lawyers added, “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.”
In a statement to the court, Bell apologized for the charges to which he had pleaded guilty, without mentioning the more serious allegations. “I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong,” he said. “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 addition to his probation and community service, Bell is prohibited from contacting the victim.
Statement on behalf of Drake Bell by Attorneys Ian Friedman and Madelyn Grant: pic.twitter.com/tYG7Rb7hhzAdvertisement
— Ian Friedman (@IanNFriedman) July 12, 2021