[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
Drake Bell was sentenced to two years probation on Monday after pleading guilty to criminal charges involving interactions with a 15-year-old girl.
The Nickelodeon star, born Jared Bell (who recently rebranded as Drake Campana), was charged with a fourth-degree felony (attempted endangering children) and a misdemeanor (disseminating matter harmful to juveniles) in late June. The allegations came from a 2017 concert when the performer was accused of engaging in an inappropriate and at times sexual conversation with a 15-year-old girl, whom he’d been building a relationship with online for several years. While Drake initially pleaded not guilty, he quickly admitted guilt to both charges in a plea deal.
At the court appearance this week, the 35-year-old showed up via Zoom to learn he was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service. He is also not allowed to contact the victim, who had a lot to say in her first public statement since the arrest.
Now 19, Bell’s victim described the Drake & Josh alum as “the epitome of evil.” She even brought up new allegations, accusing the actor of grooming her since she was just 12 years old before allegedly sexually abusing her three years later. Chatting virtually as well, the teen shared:
“I chose to write this statement because I want justice to be served more than anything. The only time that the defendant has appeared in court in person was on June 3 for his arraignment, which was before the media found out about the case. He has appeared in court today over Zoom instead of appearing in person. This doesn’t surprise me and shows what a coward he is, but I am not a coward.”
She went on to explain the “pain” the singer has caused her, remaining all these years later and which has resulted in $7,000 paid toward therapy bills so far. She also claimed the Found a Way vocalist allegedly sent her pictures of his d**k, which his team denied. She explained:
“He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children.”
Definitely getting the last word, she concluded:
“Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile and that is his legacy.”
These new sexual abuse allegations are startling, though it should be noted that while Drake was confirmed guilty to child endangerment and spreading harmful information to a minor, he was not charged with sexual abuse. His team noted after the hearing:
“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.”
That said, via his attorney, Ian Friedman, Janet Von Schmeling’s husband did accept “responsibility in this case,” but insisted there was no evidence to prove the last-minute explicit photo claims. While the songwriter made an appearance at the hearing, his statement was much less powerful — even the judge wasn’t sure if he was being sincere or just trying to avoid a harsher punishment! The defendant expressed:
“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.”
To which the judge insisted it was clear Bell “did take advantage” of his position as a celebrity and adult to manipulate the young girl who didn’t have “the emotional or mental maturity to properly engage” in any conversation with the star because of her age, adding:
“You were able to gain access to this child and you were able to gain the trust of the child. So it’s a two-edged sword, your position. I hope you truly are remorseful, I don’t know [if you are].”
Oof, we really hope he is, too. It is hard to tell, especially considering these aren’t the only allegations the former sitcom star has faced. Last summer, the Cali native’s ex Melissa Lingafelt accused him of verbal and physical abuse in a viral TikTok, saying:
“And when I say verbal abuse, imagine the worst type of verbal abuse you could ever imagine, and that was what I got. It then turned to physical — hitting, throwing, everything. At the pinnacle of it, he drug [sic] me down the stairs of our house on Los Feliz. My face hit every step on the way down. I have photos of this.”
She also alleged the former child star had cheated on her with YOUNGER girls.
One thing’s clear though — with no fear of getting locked up, Drake’s already looking forward to touring again. In his official statement following his sentencing, the Yours, Mine & Ours lead’s team wrote on his behalf:
“He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world.”
Does that not feel totally insensitive to anyone else?! Ugh.
He kept up this insensitive act on Instagram Live shortly after his sentencing concluded by casually playing the piano with his son on his lap…
The impromptu concert was probably done as an attempt to pull his diehard’s attention away from the very public legal troubles and back onto the crooner, but it’s not the best look for someone supposedly sorry about their actions. See the “father son jam sesh” for yourself (below).
We’re hoping this sentencing gives the victim some peace of mind and sense of justice. It’s truly awful what the Fuego Lento songwriter did, and we hope it never happens again. Reactions, Perezcious readers? Share them in the comments (below).
If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 connected to a certified crisis counselor.