Drake Bell, an actor famous for his role on Nickelodeon show Drake and Josh, has pled guilty to attempted child endangerment. The actor was arrested in Cleveland, Ohio earlier in June in connection to an incident that allegedly took place in 2017.
The incident reportedly involved text messages sent from Bell, who was 31 at the time, to a 15-year-old female fan. The texts were allegedly adult in nature, though Bell initially denied that these messages had been inappropriate. When Bell was first brought before the court, he pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
However, after initially resisting the charges against him, Bell reversed course and entered a guilty plea. The defense reached a deal with the prosecution where Bell would plead guilty to one count of attempted child endangerment and one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
Bell could face anywhere from six to eighteen months in prison for the offenses. Prison time isn’t necessarily required for the offenses, though, and the actor could simply face a $5,000 fine. “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 stated during a virtual hearing.
Bell will be sentenced during a hearing on July 12. It is unclear what the terms of his plea deal are. Presumably, they are relatively light, given that the actor decided to enter a plea rather than fight the charges in a lengthy court battle. Bell’s lawyer told PEOPLE that more information about why Bell entered the plea would become available during the sentencing hearing.
The accusations against Bell don’t end with the alleged messages to a minor, either. In 2020, his ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, alleged that Bell had been physically abusive toward her during their relationship. She accused the former star of dragging her down the stairs of their home and throwing household objects at her during heated arguments.
Bell, for his own part, roundly denied that these incidents occurred. “As our relationship ended — more than a decade ago — we, unfortunately, both called each other terrible names, as often happens when couples are breaking up,” Bell told reporters at the time. “But that is it.”
While Bell’s personal life is dominating headlines, the former star’s immediate future is now in the hands of the justice system.