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Drake Bell, the actor who rose to fame after starring in the millennial staple sitcom “Drake & Josh,” was sentenced Monday to two years of probation after pleading guilty to the felony charge of attempted child endangerment.
The hearing in an Ohio court marked the first time that Bell’s victim spoke publicly about her experience with the actor and accused him of sexually assaulting her. The victim, now 19 years old, said she met Bell when she was 12, through her aunt. Bell, she said, had once been a “hero to me,” CNN reported.
The victim said that after she met Bell, she talked to him about her mental health and her boy troubles, according to her statement to the court. But after she turned 15, the victim said, Bell started to send her “blatantly sexual” messages that left her feeling both uncomfortable and unable to escape, the Associated Press reported. The victim also accused Bell of sexually assaulting her on two occasions. Now, her parents have spent thousands of dollars on her therapy bills, People reported.
"He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me," said the victim, who also called Bell a “pedophile,” a “coward,” and “the epitome of evil.” “He is a monster and a danger to children.”
Bell appeared in the hearing through Zoom and spoke briefly. “I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong,” he said. “I’m sorry the victim was harmed. It was not my intention.”
Bell, 35, first pleaded guilty to the fourth-degree child endangerment charge in June, when he also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. In addition to the probation, Bell was sentenced Monday to 200 hours of community service.
Through his attorney, Bell has denied the assault allegations.
“Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility. The victim’s allegations that went beyond that which all parties agreed not only lack supporting evidence but are contradicted by the facts learned through extensive investigation,” Bell’s lawyer, Ian Friedman, said in a statement. “As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor.”
After Bell was charged this year, he revealed that he has been married for years and has a child.