Ex-child actor Drake Bell accused of child endangerment

CLEVELAND (AP) — One of the stars of the popular Nickelodeon children’s show “Drake & Josh” faces criminal charges regarding a girl he had met online and who attended his 2017 concert in Ohio when she was 15.

Jared “Drake” Bell, 34, pleaded not guilty on Thursday in a Cleveland courtroom to a felony charge of attempted endangering children and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

“All facts will be revealed in a courtroom,” Bell’s attorney Ian Friedman said Friday, declining to comment further.

Bell was charged by information, which typically indicates a plea agreement has been reached. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on June 23.

Tyler Sinclair, spokesperson for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley, said the girl filed a complaint with Canadian police in October 2018. Police there contacted Cleveland police, prompting an investigation.

The attempted endangering children charge relates to the concert, Sinclair said, where Bell “violated his duty of care” and created a risk of harm to the victim. He didn’t elaborate further.

Bell and the girl had “developed a relationship” online several years prior to the concert, Sinclair said. The disseminating harmful material charge concerns Bell having sent the girl “inappropriate social media messages,” Sinclair said.

Bell, also a singer, began acting as a child, but was catapulted to stardom as a teen with Nickelodeon’s “The Amanda Show” and later “Drake & Josh,” which debuted on the channel in January 2004. The final episode aired in September 2007. Bell and co-star Josh Beck also starred in two “Drake & Josh” movies.

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