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13th Jul 2021

Drake and Josh star Drake Bell sentenced for child endangerment

Kat O'Connor

“My life hasn’t been the same”

Drake and Josh star Drake Bell has been sentenced to two years probation on child endangerment charges.

The 35-year-old pleaded guilty to attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

It is understood the attempted child endangerment charge relates to when Bell met the victim at one of his concerts when she was only 15-years-old. Bell and the woman, who is now 19, had been speaking online two years before meeting.

Bell was not charged with sexual abuse.

The former Nickelodeon star must complete 200 hours of community service and is prohibited from contacting the victim.

Speaking about the damage Bell caused, the 19-year-old victim said Bell groomed her from the age of 12 and started sending her sexual messages once she turned 15.

She told the court that he made her feel uncomfortable, but she felt trapped because she idolised the actor.

“My life hasn’t been the same since I was 15. I think about these crimes every single day. I feel like I’m in a constant dark place. Sometimes I wish I could disappear so I can forget about what happened.”

“I was definitely one of his biggest fans. I would have done anything for him.”

The woman also said they exchanged explicit photos and that Bell engaged in sexual conduct with her on numerous occasions. Bell’s lawyer disputed the claims in court on Monday.

“I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong. 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,” Bell stated via Zoom.

Before delivering his sentence, Judge Timothy McCormick commented: “The fact of the matter is your position and celebrity status let you nurture this relationship. You were able to gain access to this child.”

Bell had initially pleaded not guilty to the charges.