Drake Bell Pleads Guilty to Child Endangerment Charges Following Arrest

Drake Bell has pleaded guilty to two charges — attempted endangering children and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles — during a Wednesday court hearing. The Drake & Josh actor, 34, was arrested and charged in Cleveland earlier this month, according to ABC's local News 5. The former Nickelodeon star initially pleaded not guilty but has since agreed to a plea deal, telling the judge he was guilty of both charges during Wednesday's virtual court hearing.

"My understanding is there's been a plea agreement reached where the defendant will plead guilty to count one attempted endangering children, a felony in the fourth degree [and] plead guilty to count two: disseminating matter harmful to juveniles, a misdemeanor the first degree," the judge said during the hearing, to which Bell and his attorney both agreed.

The judge informed the former child star, born Jared Bell, that attempted endangering children carries a sentence of anywhere from six to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000, while the second charge carries up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. "However, if you go to prison, upon your release, you could be subjected to a discretionary period of three years post-release control. Post-release control could involve restrictions on your activities," the judge said. "If you were to violate those restrictions, you can be returned to prison, [for] up to a maximum of one-half of your original sentence."

Bell's sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 12, at which point the victim will be able to read a victim statement if she chooses, according to the judge. Bell's lawyer Ian Friedman said in a statement to PEOPLE Wednesday, "All questions about this case will be answered at sentencing, including why Mr. Bell chose to enter his plea."

KXAN reported that Bell's charges stem from a time in 2017 in which Bell engaged in an inappropriate chat that was sexual in nature with a 15-year-old girl leading up to an incident that occurred between the two at a Cleveland nightclub on Old River Road in the city’s East Bank of The Flats district, according to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. Bell's arrest earlier this month came almost a year after his ex-girlfriend, Melissa Lingafelt, accused him of physical and verbal abuse, which he denied at the time.