Former Nickelodeon star Jared Drake Bell pleaded guilty on Wednesday to charges involving his interactions with a minor girl whom he met online and who went to one of his concerts when she was 15 years old. Bell copped to two charges, fourth-degree attempted endangerment of children, a felony and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a misdemeanor, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to Vulture.
The plea proceeding took place over Zoom. Bell is scheduled to be sentenced on July 12; his sentence could range from probation to two years behind bars, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this month, Bell had entered a not guilty plea to these charges. A spokeswoman for Bell’s lawyer, Ian Friedman, said in a statement to Vulture, “All questions will be answered at sentencing, including why Mr. Bell entered today’s plea.”
Local prosecutors said that Bell’s attempted endangerment of children charge involves the concert attended by this minor teen, which took place in Cleveland in 2017. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office said that Bell “violated his duty of care” and created a situation where she was at risk of harm. The spokesman did not provide additional details, per AP.
The charge of disseminating material harmful to minors involves Bell sending the victim “inappropriate social media messages,” the spokesman reportedly said. Authorities previously said that the girl contacted police in Toronto in October 2018. Toronto police reached out to Cleveland police, spurring an investigation.
Bell starred in the show Drake & Josh with Josh Peck between 2004 and 2007. Last August, the performer’s ex-girlfriend Melissa Lingafelt accused him of physical and verbal abuse. Bell told People that he “never abused” Lingafelt, who performs music under the name Jimi Ono.
Lingafelt, who dated Bell between 2006 and 2009, said in a TikTok video in which she alleged abuse, “This is my truth. I hope this message reaches young girls, and that no one has to go through what I did. #2020survivor.”