Drake Bell is facing up to two years in prison after pleading guilty to two charges of endangering children and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
The ‘Drake & Josh’ star reportedly agreed to a plea deal in the criminal case which was announced during a virtual court hearing on Wednesday. As we reported, the television star was arrested and charged in Cleveland after an incident that occurred on December 1, 2017 — the same day the actor was scheduled to perform at a venue in the city.
“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,” the judge said in the hearing.
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In the hearing, the judge informed the ‘Nickelodeon’ star that the charges carry a sentence of anywhere between six to eighteen months in prison. Obviously, a sentencing hearing is upcoming and the judge can impose any amount of jail time between the guidelines. Or, they could just order probation.
“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, adding. “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.”
The judge continued, “Do you understand if you plead guilty that is an admission by you that you did these crimes?” Drake answered again, “Yes, Your Honor.”
When asked if he understood the possible penalties, in this case, he answered, “I do, Your Honor. Yes.” The sentencing hearing is set for July 12. The TV star’s lawyer issued a statement about the plea agreement, saying, “All questions about this case will be answered at sentencing, including why Mr. Bell chose to enter his plea.”
According to a local Cleveland news station, the alleged incident involved a chat with a 15-year-old girl that was “at times sexual in nature.” At the time, an investigation into the incent revealed Bell had allegedly sent the victim inappropriate social media messages. Plus, the prosecutor’s office says at the concert, “Bell violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim.” It appears the victim is Canadian and authorities in that country contacted law enforcement in Cleveland when the 15-year-old came forward with the allegations.
The arrest came almost a year after his ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, accused him of physical and verbal abuse. He denied the allegations.
A sentencing hearing is set for July 12.