Washington [US] June 24 (ANI): Hollywood actor Drake Bell, who starred as Drake on the popular Nickelodeon series 'Drake and Josh', on Wednesday, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and a felony charge of attempting to endanger children.
According to Variety, Bell, who via Zoom virtually appeared at the pretrial hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, could face up to 18 months in prison and a USD 5,000 fine for the felony charge, and up to six months in county jail and a USD 1,000 fine for the misdemeanor.
Though he initially pleaded not guilty, Bell has since agreed to a plea deal and said he was guilty of both charges during the virtual court appearance.
Following the possible prison term, the actor and singer currently also faces three years of "post-release control". Sentencing has been set for July 12.
Drake's charges stem from an incident that took place between a 15-year-old girl and a then-31-year-old Bell on December 1, 2017, the same day he was scheduled to perform at Cleveland club The Odeon.
While police have not specified what exactly occurred at the venue, they say the meeting followed months of social media messages that were "at times ... sexual in nature."
The victim had later filed a police report in Canada, and the Canadian authorities reportedly then contacted Cleveland police. Prior to Bell's sentencing, she may provide the court with a victim impact statement.
Cleveland Police had then arrested Bell on June 3, who then pleaded not guilty in Cuyahoga County Court. He was later freed on a USD 2,500 personal bond ordering him to have no contact with the victim.
Making its debut in 2004 and running for four seasons, 'Drake and Josh' followed the story of stepbrothers Drake Parker (Bell) and Josh Nichols (Josh Peck). The series spawned two TV movies and was one of Nickelodeon's highest-rated programs, averaging about 3 million viewers at the time.
As per People magazine, his arrest this month came almost a year after Bell's ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, accused him of physical and verbal abuse, which he had denied in a statement at the time. (ANI)