Drake & Josh star Josh Peck broke his silence on former co-star Drake Bell's arrest and sentencing on child endangerment charges. Bell was indicted on two criminal counts of attempted endangering children and disseminating harmful manner to juveniles in May. He initially pleaded not guilty but changed his plea to guilty in late June. On Monday, Bell was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service.
Peck, 34, attended the premiere event for Turner & Hooch, the new Disney+ series based on the Tom Hanks film of the same name. During the event, Variety asked Peck about Bell's sentencing. "It's upsetting, and it's an unfortunate situation," Peck said. "It's disappointing." Peck and Bell, 35, played stepbrothers on Nickelodeon's Drake & Josh, which ran from 2004 to 2007. While Bell moved on from acting, Peck has continued starring in film and television shows, even recently appearing in Fuller House.
Bell was arrested in Cuyahoga County, Ohio early last month on child endangerment charges. On Monday, Peck appeared in court via Zoom. "I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong," Bell told the court. "I'm sorry the victim was harmed. It was not my intention. I take this matter very seriously, and, again, I just want to apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions."
The victim in the case alleged that Bell started communicating with her when she was 12, and they met in person at a concert in December 2017. In her own statement, the victim, now 19, called Bell a "pedophile" and said they sent each other explicit photos. They also engaged in sexual activity at the concert venue and a hotel room, she said. She also called Bell a "monster."
"I idolized and looked up to him," the victim said during the hearing. "He was calculating, he preyed on me and he sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children… And he can give me that look all he wants but he knows exactly what I'm talking about. My suffering is not for him to brag about or use as leverage about how he's become a good person now that he's a father."
Bell's attorneys disputed many of the allegations the victim made during her statement. "As the court made clear, this plea was never about sexual misconduct or sexual relations with any person, let alone a minor. Sexual registration was not imposed as Mr. Bell did not plead guilty to any such offense," attorneys Ian Friedman and Madelyn Grant said in a statement. "Drake and his family are relieved and grateful to have this matter behind him. He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world." Bell will serve his sentence in California, where he lives. The California probation department will also determine if Bell has to register as a sex offender.