Former child star Drake Bell has been sentenced to 2 years' probation after pleading guilty to attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating harmful matter to juveniles.
He admitted to the charges last month in relation to a then fifteen-year-old girl who met Bell online and attended one of his concerts as per The Associated Press.
Bell, thirty-five, said at the Zoom hearing: "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.
"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 finished.
Bell was also ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service, being told he can have no contact with the victim, who is now nineteen.
In a heartbreaking statement read out to the court, the victim said: "My life hasn't been the same since I was fifteen. I think about these crimes every single day. I feel like I'm in a constant dark place. Sometimes I wish I could disappear so I can forget about what happened."
She then called Bell a "monster."
Bell was arrested in June and appeared at the Cuyahoga County Court where he initially entered a not guilty plea and was released on a $2,500 bond.
However, in his pre-trial hearing on June 23rd, he changed his plea to Guilty.
Judge Timothy McCormick said in court: "There were serious and disturbing allegations made here today but we can't lose focus on what he pled to. He did not plead to sexual misconduct. However, a grown man does not engage in inappropriate text messages to a teenager."
Talking to NBC News, Bell's lawyer Ian Friedman, said his client's guilty plea and sentence: "reflect conduct for which Mr Bell did accept responsibility".
Friedman went on: "The victim's allegations that went beyond that which all parties agreed, not only lack supporting evidence but are contradicted by the facts learned through an extensive investigation.
"As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor."
People have been taking to social media to share their disgust and anger over the sentencing:
One person tweeted: "2 years isn't enough," while another wrote: "And of probation is a joke. That sentencing is ridiculous. Rich folks get off so easy."
Bell is best known for being a former child actor, singer, musician, and songwriter. As a child, Bell co-starred in the famous American sitcom, Drake and Josh. He was also the voice of Peter Parker / Spider-Man in the animated series Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD.
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