Former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell made a name for himself in showbiz thanks to series like The Amanda Show and of course Drake & Josh (although his dynamic with Josh Peck hasn't always matched what they portrayed on the show). Now, however, the actor is facing what could potentially be lengthy jail time for attempted child endangerment, as well as one other charge, due to his behavior toward a then-15-year-old girl. Bell has pleaded guilty to one felony and one misdemeanor, which combined could mean years behind bars.
In a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, June 23 (via WKYC Channel 3), 34-year-old Jared Drake Bell appeared via Zoom and pleaded guilty to one count of attempted endangering of children, which is a felony of the fourth degree, and one count of disseminating harmful material to juveniles, a misdemeanor of the first degree. Bell pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement, although the details of that agreement aren't clear at this point.
The judge did make the potential consequences of his guilty plea clear, however. The count of attempted endangering of children carries a sentence anywhere from 6-18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5000. Although prison time is not mandatory, if Drake Bell does go to prison, he could be subjected to a discretionary period of up to three years after release, which could include restrictions on his activities. Violation of those restrictions could result in a return to prison, up to a maximum of half of the initial sentence.
And that was just for the first count! If Drake Bell receives the maximum sentence for the count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, he would receive six months in county jail and a fine of up to $1000. That said, those are both the maximum, so it's possible that the sentence could be less severe as a result of the plea agreement. The news of how long Bell will be behind bars won't be revealed any time too soon, however.
Drake Bell's sentencing has been deferred to July 12 at noon, and the victim will have the option to provide a statement if she so chooses. The victim was 15 years old when she filed a report with her local police department in Canada in 2018, regarding an alleged incident that happened in December 2017 at a nightclub in Cleveland, Ohio. Canadian authorities contacted Cleveland police, and the investigation reportedly revealed that Bell had "violated his duty of care" and risked harm to the teen, and had an inappropriate chat with her before the incident.
In a court appearance in early June, Drake Bell entered a plea of not guilty and was freed on a $2500 bond. The plea agreement was presumably worked out in the weeks leading up to the June 23 hearing, in which Bell waived his right to a trial by jury and will face sentencing in his next appearance in court on July 12. Whether or not he'll spend time in prison – and how much time that would be – after his guilty plea will become clear at that point. This isn't the first time that Bell has faced troubling allegations.