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Drake Bell Pleads Guilty To Charges Of Attempted Child Endangerment, Disseminating Matter Harmful To Juveniles

Jun. 23 2021, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

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Drake Bell has reportedly pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted endangering children and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

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While he initially pleaded not guilty to both charges, he agreed to a plea and said he was guilty during his Wednesday, June 23, court hearing. Bell's plea comes after he was arrested and charged in Cleveland, Ohio, earlier this month over an incident that took place in December 2017.

During the livestream of the hearing, per local ABC affiliate News5, the judge confirmed: "My understanding is there's been a plea agreement reached where the defendant will plead guilty to count one attempted endangering children, a felony in the fourth degree [and] plead guilty to count two: disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a misdemeanor the first degree."

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The Nickelodeon star, born Jared Bell, could face anywhere from six-18 months in prison in monthly increments for attempted endangering children. In addition to or in replacement of his prison sentence, Bell could face a fine of up to $5,000, the judge explained, noting that prison time is not mandatory.

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The 34-year-old could also face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for his disseminating matter harmful to juveniles charge, as the judge reportedly explained in the hearing.

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"However, if you go to prison, upon your release, you could be subjected to a discretionary period of three years post-release control. Post-release control could involve restrictions on your activities," the judge continued. "If you were to violate those restrictions, you can be returned to prison, [for] up to a maximum of one half of your original sentence."

When asked if the Drake & Josh alum understood "the potential penalties," he reportedly replied: "I do, Your Honor. Yes."

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The judge also clarified that Bell understood that by pleading guilty to both charges meant he "did these crimes," to which Bell responded: "Yes, Your Honor." 

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Bell's arrest was in connection to an October 2018 report filed by a 15-year-old girl following an encounter she had with the actor at a Cleveland nightclub on December 1, 2017— the same day Bell was scheduled to perform at a venue in Cleveland.

The juvenile victim filed the report with her local police department in Canada, who then contacted the Cleveland Division of Police. The Cleveland police conducted an investigation, which revealed the victim had established a relationship with Bell several years prior. They also determined that the victim attended his concert in Cleveland, it was reported.

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According to the findings, Bell sent the young girl several inappropriate social media messages that were sexual in their nature leading up to his 2017 concert. After Bell was arrested earlier this month, he posted a $2,500 bond and agreed to have no contact with the young victim in question.

Bell's sentencing hearing is set for July 12, with his lawyer Ian Friedman telling PEOPLE, "All questions about this case will be answered at sentencing, including why Mr. Bell chose to enter his plea."

Bell's arrest came almost one year after ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt accused him of physical and verbal abuse — allegations he has since denied — in an August 2020 TikTok video.

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