Is Drake Bell dangerous to young fans?
There’s no shortage of Hollywood child stars that find themselves in the crosshairs of the law. From Shia LaBeouf to Lindsay Lohan, mugshots of former child stars are constantly gracing the cover of tabloids & celebrity gossip magazines. The latest of the young child stars to find themselves in hot water is Nickelodeon’s Jared “Drake” Bell.
Drake Bell, the thirty-five-year-old actor, known for starring in the popular Nickelodeon show Drake and Josh, was sentenced Monday to two years of probation over charges related to inappropriate communication with a girl who met him online and attended his Cleveland concert in 2017 when she was fifteen. Is he dangerous to his young fans?
The charismatic & hilarious actor made a name for himself on the network’s hit shows like The Amanda Show & Drake & Josh. Although he seemed to have limitless potential, his acting career seemed to hit a pause after his Nickelodeon days. He focused his energy on doing voiceovers for animated shows and his singing career.
Bell embarked on a singing career that saw five albums over fifteen years. He began with Telegraph in 2005, followed directly by It’s Only Time in 2006. He took a reprieve from music and didn’t record his next album until 2014 with Ready Steady Go! In 2020, he released The Lost Album and the Spanish album Sesiones En Casa.
The money he made from starring in two hit shows as a child actor and releasing albums didn’t last. TMZ broke the news in 2014 that the Nickelodeon star had filed for bankruptcy, and according to the legal documents, he claimed he owed $581,000. In 2007, Bell bought a house in Los Feliz, California, for $2 million. After Bell filed for bankruptcy, the place went into foreclosure.
On December 21st, 2015, Bell was arrested for driving under the influence in Glendale, California, at 2:45 AM after police officers witnessed him swerving & driving well over the speed limit. He was subsequently released on a $20,000 bond and pleaded not guilty. In September 2016, Bell was found guilty and sentenced to four days in jail, four years’ probation, and required to attend an alcohol education program.
Bell served only one day for good behavior. He was previously charged with driving under the influence in 2010 concerning an incident in San Diego in 2009. In August 2020, his former girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt accused him of verbal & physical abuse during their three-year relationship in the late 2000s. Bell denied the allegations. Another ex, Paydin Layne, supported Lingafelt’s claims.
Young fan accuses Bell
TMZ reported that Bell was arrested in Cleveland on Friday, June 4th, and indicted on charges of attempting to endanger children and disseminating harm to juveniles. According to FOX 8 News, the actor allegedly engaged in an inappropriate chat with an underage victim that, at times, was sexual in nature. He pleaded not guilty. He posted a $2,500 bond and was released.
The terms of his bond included having no contact with the victim and submitting a DNA specimen, which are all standard procedures for defendants. The alleged incident reportedly took place on December 1st, 2017, where Drake was scheduled to perform at a club in Cleveland.
Bell pleaded guilty to attempted child endangerment, a 4th-degree felony, and disseminating matter harmful to minors, a 1st-degree misdemeanor. TMZ reported that Bell was in court for a hearing in Ohio where he appeared via Zoom and pled guilty, a plea the judge accepted. He was set to be sentenced in July and faced up to 18 months in prison.
The judge gave Bell two years of probation and a suspended one-year jail sentence in a Cleveland courtroom on July 12th. The Associated Press reported that the actor appeared for the sentencing via Zoom in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courtroom with Judge Timothy McCormick. The singer faced up to two years in prison because of his charges, but prison time is not mandatory.
“Today, I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong. I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way—that was obviously not my intention,” Bell reportedly said in court. “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 and his victim had vastly different accounts of what their text conversations contained. However, the judge seemed to agree that the prosecution didn’t have enough to prosecute further. Do you think Bell was dangerous to his young fan? Do past allegations make it more possible? Or do you believe it is a series of misunderstandings gone too far?