American actor and singer Drake Bell was sentenced to two years’ probation and 200 hours of community service on Monday after pleading guilty to child endangerment.
The former Drake & Josh star is also prohibited from contacting the victim – who is now 19 years old and called the actor “the epitome of evil” during his sentencing hearing, People reported.
“He was calculating. He preyed on me and sexually abused me,” she claimed during the hearing, which took place over Zoom. “He is a monster and a danger to children.”
“Jared Drake Bell is a paedophile and that is his legacy,” she concluded.
The victim claimed that Bell started grooming her at the age of 12 before allegedly abusing her at 15. She said he also sent her photos of his genitalia.
RELATED: Brutal reality for former child star
Bell, 35, apologised during the sentencing and claimed he didn’t mean to harm the victim.
“I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong,” said Bell, who recently revealed that he’s married and has a son. “I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way, but that was obviously not my intention. I have taken this matter very, very seriously. And again, I just want to apologise to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.”
But his lawyers added in a statement after the hearing: “Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility. 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 extensive investigation.
“As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor,” said lawyers Ian Friedman and Madelyn Grant. “Sexual registration was not imposed as Mr Bell did not plead guilty to any such offence. Drake and his family are relieved to have this matter behind them. He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world.”
Bell’s sexual offender report will be resubmitted to determine whether he will be required to undergo further counselling, People reported.
The actor was arrested in early June for “crimes against a child” and also indicted for “disseminating matter harmful to juveniles”. He initially pleaded not guilty but ultimately changed his plea.
The charges stemmed from his allegedly inappropriate relationship with the teen, who was 15 at the time.
Prosecutors claimed the actor met the girl online. She then attended one of his concerts in Cleveland in 2017, they alleged.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office spokesman Tyler Sinclair said Bell had sent the girl “inappropriate social media messages” that “violated his duty of care” and risked harm to the teen.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Star sentenced in child endangerment case