The former ‘Drake and Josh’ star has agreed to plead guilty to attempted child endangerment and disseminating material harmful to children over an incident relating to a girl he met in 2017.
AceShowbiz –Drake Bell has pleaded guilty to attempted child endangerment and disseminating material harmful to children. The “Drake and Josh” alum, who initially pleaded not guilty, changed his tune and agreed to a plea deal at a virtual court hearing on Wednesday, June 22.
According to a livestream of the testify from ABC’s local station News 5, the judge declared, “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 misdemeanor the first degree.”
The judge later informed the Nickelodeon star, born Jared Bell, that attempted endangering children carries a sentence of anywhere from six to 18 months in prison in monthly increments and/or a fine of up to $5,000, though prison time is not mandatory. The second charge carries up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
“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 continued to explain. “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.”
The judge went on to ask Drake, “Do you understand the potential penalties?” to which the 34-year-old actor responded, “I do, Your Honor. Yes.” The judge then followed it up with another question, “Do you understand if you plead guilty that is an admission by you that you did these crimes?” to which the actor, who appeared on “iCarly“, again said, “Yes, Your Honor.”
A hearing for Drake’s sentencing is scheduled for July 12 in Cleveland. As the victim, who met him online and attended one of his concerts in Cleveland in 2017, is now an adult, she will be allowed to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing, the judge added.
In a statement to PEOPLE on Wednesday, Drake’s lawyer Ian Friedman said, “All questions about this case will be answered at sentencing.” He pointed out, “Including why Mr. Bell chose to enter his plea.”
Drake was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio earlier this month for allegedly engaging in an inappropriate chat with a 15-year-old girl that was at times sexual in nature. The alleged incident happened on December 1, 2017, the same day the “Superhero Movie” actor was scheduled to perform at a venue in Cleveland.
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