Drake Bell said he owed fans an “explanation” following his child endangerment conviction, saying his actions were “reckless and irresponsible.”
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The former “Drake and Josh” star uploaded a video to Instagram on Friday to address the case with his 4.1 million followers. In July, the 35-year-old was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service for a 2017 incident involving a 15-year-old girl who attended one of his concerts.
According to Billboard, the victim said that Bell began communication with her online when she was 12, and the conversations became “blatantly S3xual” by the time she was 15. The victim said they had exchanged explicit photos and engaged in S3xual conduct on several occasions, Billboard reported.
“I know that this has moved very quickly for you,” Bell said in the video. “But for me, it’s been a three-year thorough investigation into every false claim that has been made.”
Bell alleged: “It’s not me telling you that the claims are false, but the state of Ohio has proven 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.”
Bell claimed in the video that he didn’t know the victim’s age and stopped communication once he became aware.
“But that being said, I’m not perfect, and I made mistakes,” he said. “I responded to a fan whose age I didn’t know … yet when I became aware of their age, all conversation and communication stopped.”
Bell said, “this individual continued to come to shows and pay for meet-and-greets, and although I was unaware that this was the same person I was communicating with online, that’s what I pled guilty to. It was reckless and irresponsible text messages.”
In June, Bell pleaded guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.
In the video, Bell addressed the misdemeanor charge by claiming no S3xual images were exchanged and nothing physical occurred with the victim.
Bell said he took the plea deal as a way to bring the situation to a close.
“When I was presented with a plea deal because of the messages, I felt that it was the best way to get this over quickly and for everybody involved to be able to move on and for me to get back to doing what I love,” Bell said.
Earlier in the video, Bell denied rumors that he legally changed his last name to “Campana” and became a citizen of Mexico.
“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,” Bell said.