Drake Bell has openly addressed his recent arrest and guilty plea to child endangerment charges, taking to Instagram with a new video message for his fans. In the post, 35-year-old Bell began by clearing up some rumors about him that have been swirling. "Most of the news you've heard recently is entirely false and wrong," he said. "I feel that you deserve, and I owe you, an explanation."
Bell explained, "I didn't change my name. Although I would love to, I've never moved to Mexico, I've never been a resident or a citizen of Mexico. I don't have a Mexican passport. I didn't get arrested, I didn't go to jail." The actor went on to say, "I know that this has moved very quickly for you, but for me, it's been a three-year, thorough investigation into every false claim that has been made. And, it's not me telling you that the claims are false, but the state of Ohio has proven the claims to be false. If these claims were remotely true, my situation would be very different. I would not be here at home with my wife and my son. But that being said, I am not perfect, and I make mistakes."
In June, Drake was taken into police custody and later appeared in court via Zoom. The former Drake and Josh star pleaded guilty to charges of attempted child endangerment and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. According to authorities, a then-15-year-old girl filed a police report in Toronto regarding a 2017 interaction she allegedly had with Bell at a Cleveland nightclub. According to Bell, he did communicate with a fan before knowing their age, but has stated that he ended all contact with the individual after learning they were under the legal age of consent.
"This individual continued to come to shows and pay for meet-and-greets, all while I was unaware that this was the same person I was communicating with online, and that's what I plead guilty to," he stated in his Instagram message. "It was reckless and irresponsible text messages. I want to make clear there were no sexual images, nothing physical between me and this individual."
Bell also clarified that he was not charged with "anything physical," stating that all the interaction he had with the individual was online. "When I was presented with a plea deal, because of the messages, I felt that this was the best way to get this over quickly, and for everyone involved to be able to move on," he said. "And for me to get back to doing what I love, and that is making music for you." After entering his guilty plea, Bell was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service.