CLEVELAND — Jared Drake Bell, who starred in the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh,” pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a felony charge of attempting to endanger children and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
Bell, 34, of West Hollywood, California, agreed to a plea deal via Zoom to the charges, The New York Times reported. Sentencing is scheduled for July 12 in Cleveland.
“If you plead guilty, that is an admission that you did commit these crimes,” Judge Timothy McCormick told Bell, according to WJW. Bell could face up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Bell initially pleaded not guilty to both charges, the Times reported.
Prosecutors said the alleged victim, 15, filed a report with a police department in Canada in 2018 about an incident that purportedly took place in Cleveland on Dec. 1, 2017, WJW reported.
That was the day Bell was scheduled to perform at The Odeon in Cleveland, Variety reported. Police have not specified what happened at the venue, but said the alleged meeting between Bell and the minor followed months of social media messages that were at times, “sexual in nature,” the website reported.
Bell’s lawyer, Ian N. Friedman, told CNN in a statement, “All questions will be answered at sentencing, including why Mr. Bell chose to enter today’s plea.”
Bell, who appeared in all 56 episodes of “Drake & Josh” from 2004 to 2007, played Drake Parker, who became a teen stepbrother to the geeky Josh Nichols, played by Josh Peck.
The Nickelodeon series led to two television movies and was one of the network’s highest-rated programs, averaging about 3 million viewers, according to Variety.
Since then, Bell’s career has included voice work and album releases, along with nationwide tours.
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