Former child star Drake Bell appeared in court on Monday via Zoom and was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service after a teen accused him of preying on and sexually abusing her.
Bell, 35, pleaded guilty last month to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, which a Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson said related to “inappropriate social media messages” Bell had sent to his accuser.
He spoke before the sentencing, telling the judge, “I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong. I’m sorry the victim was harmed. It was not my intention.”
The unidentified victim, now 19, also spoke in court and read a statement calling the former “Drake & Josh” star “the epitome of evil.” She has accused Bell of grooming her since she was 12 and sexually abusing her when she was 15.
The victim said that as a result of Bell’s actions, she has suffered panic attacks and nightmares and her parents have spent more than $7,000 on therapy.
“He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me,” she said. “He is a monster and a danger to children.”
She added: “Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile and that is his legacy.”
Watch the victim’s testimony below.
Bell’s defense attorneys told the court that his client did not know how old the teen was at first, but stopped communicating with her once he knew.
One of Bell’s attorneys, Ian Friedman, later released a statement on Twitter saying the plea and sentence “reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility,” but said the victim’s other allegations “lack supporting evidence” and are “contradicted by the facts learned through extensive investigation.”
He noted that Bell is not required to register as a sexual offender.
Bell catapulted to stardom as a teen with Nickelodeon’s “The Amanda Show” and later “Drake & Josh” before starting a singing career.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.