Drake Bell: Who is he and what has he been sentenced to?

Composite image of Drake Bell

Drake Bell has hit headlines for his legal issues (Picture: Getty, Cuyahoga County Jail)

Drake Bell is at the centre of controversy after being charged with the attempted endangerment of children. 

The 34-year-old is perhaps best known with American audiences after becoming a Nickelodeon child star in the series Drake & Josh. 

On Monday, the ex-Nickelodeon star was sentenced to two years probation after pleading guilty on June 23 to attempted endangering children, a fourth-degree felony, and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

But what has actor Drake Bell starred in and what exactly does ‘disseminating’ mean?

What has Drake Bell been in? 

Drake, real name Jared Drake Bell, was born on June 27, 1986, in Newport Beach, California.

He began acting at the age of five and landed his first TV appearance in an episode of Home Improvement in 1994.

Drake & Josh stars Drake Bell and Josh Peck

He rose to fame starring alongside Josh Peck (L) in Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh (Picture: WireImage)

Two years later, he made a small appearance in the Oscar-nominated blockbuster Jerry Maguire alongside Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr, and Renee Zellweger. In 1998, he also made a small appearance in an episode of Seinfeld. 

Bell enjoyed more success in his own right in 1999 when he began starring in The Amanda Show on Nickelodeon. He remained a cast member until the series ended in 2002.

In 2004, Bell became a lead star in the network’s brand new show, Drake & Josh, alongside Josh Peck who he had worked with on The Amanda Show.

Drake & Josh ran for four seasons until 2007, and earned Bell three wins for favourite TV actor at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.

He recorded the song, Found A Way, which was used for the series’ soundtrack.

Bell is also a musician and was signed to Motown Universal in 2006.

He has released five albums, including his debut Telegraph and the follow-up It’s Only Time. His fourth album, The Lost Album, was released earlier this year. 

Why was Drake Bell arrested?

Bell is alleged to have been involved with an incident that reportedly took place on December 1, 2017. The singer was set to play a concert in Cleveland on the same day, according to WKBN 27.

However, he was not indicted until May 2021. 

Bell was charged with attempting to endanger children (Picture: Cuyahoga County Jail)

According to court records, Bell was charged with attempting to endanger children in Cleveland.

It was not immediately clear what prompted the charges, but Fox8 News reported that Bell allegedly engaged in an inappropriate chat with a victim ‘that, at times, was sexual in nature.’

He is also facing charges of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. 

Bell appeared in Cuyahoga County Court, where he initially entered a not guilty plea to the charges, and posted a $2,500 (£1,765) bond.

What has Drake Bell been sentenced to?

On Monday, July 12, Bell appeared virtually in a Cleveland court, where he was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service.

He is also prohibited from contacting the victim, who accused the actor of grooming her from the age of 12 and sexually abusing her when she was 15.

Prior to his sentencing, Bell said: ‘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 apologise to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.’

Bell’s victim, now 19, also issued a statement over Zoom during the sentencing and alleged that Bell sent her pictures of his genitalia.

However, Bell’s attorney Ian Friedman disputed these allegations, claiming there was no such evidence.

Friedman issued a statement following the sentencing: ‘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.

‘As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor. Sexual registration was not imposed as Mr. Bell did not plead guilty to any such offense. Drake and his family are relieved to have this matter behind them. He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world.’

What does disseminating mean?

Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles establishes that any material or performance is considered ‘obscene’ when considered as a whole.

MORE : Drake Bell reveals he has been married for ‘almost three years’ and has a child

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