Former Nickelodeon child star Drake Bell, who’s now 34, pled guilty to attempted child endangerment and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles at a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, People magazine reports.
The charges stem from an alleged incident back in 2017, when a then-31-year-old Bell engaged in an inappropriate online chat which was at times sexual in nature with a girl who was just 15 years old at the time. He initially pleaded not guilty.
“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.
The girl, who is from Canada, attended Bell’s gig in Cleveland, Ohio, in December 2017.
However, a police investigation found that Bell had been chatting with the girl for several years prior.
“Bell violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim,” the prosecutor’s office said.
The former star of Drake & Josh could now face up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for the attempted child endangerment charge, and up to six months in county jail and a $1,000 fine for the disseminating matter harmful to juveniles charge.
On top of that, if he does end up going to jail, Bell could also be subject to three more years of restrictions upon his release. If he were to violate any of those restrictions, he’d then go back to jail.
When the judge asked Bell if he understood these potential penalties after pleading guilty, he replied: “I do, Your Honor. Yes.”
Bell is set to be sentenced on July 12, which is also when a spokesperson for the actor said all questions about the case would finally be answered.