CLEVELAND — Jared Bell, the Nickelodeon star who played Drake in the TV show “Drake and Josh,” was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty to crimes involving a 15-year-old girl while he visited Cleveland.
Bell, 34, of West Hollywood, pleaded guilty to attempted endangering children, a fourth-degree felony, and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a first-degree misdemeanor.
The charges stem from an incident in October 2018, when the 15-year-old victim filed a report with her local police department in Canada regarding an incident that occurred between her and Bell in 2017 at a Cleveland nightclub on Old River Road in the city’s East Bank of The Flats district, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office.
Canadian authorities contacted the Cleveland Division of Police, which conducted the subsequent investigation.
Investigators determined the 15-year-old victim, who they say had established a relationship with Bell several years prior, attended his concert in Cleveland in December 2017. While he was there, the prosecutor’s office said he violated his duty of care, and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim.
The prosecutor’s office said the investigation revealed that in the months leading up to the concert, Bell sent the victim inappropriate social media messages.
“The fact of the matter is, your position celebrity status and enabled you to nurture this relationship. You were able to gain access to this child and able to gain the trust of this child. So it’s a two-edge sword, your position. I hope you are truly remorseful. I don’t know,” said McCormick.
The victim made a long, detailed and emotional statement during the sentencing. She made several claims of sexual misconduct by Bell that had not been brought up in previous court hearings.
“I will never forget what he did to me. I idolized and looked up to him and he took that and broke it in the most sickening way possible. He is the epitome of evil,” the victim said to the court.
Bell's defense attorney refuted several of the allegations made by the victim during her impact statement, saying that those claims were reviewed by authorities and they found there wasn't evidence to prosecute Bell for them.
When it was Bell's turn to address the court, he admitted his conduct was wrong.
"I just want to say today that 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 said.
Bell was sentenced to two years of probation and will have to complete 200 hours of community service. As part of his sentencing, Bell is ordered to have no contact with the victim and ordered to pay court costs.