Drake Bell is a Nickelodeon child-star. Bell was on the Nickelodeon television show that was named “Drake and Josh.”
Bell was charged with attempted child endangerment. That is a fourth-degree felony. He was also charged with a misdemeanor charge of disseminating harmful matter to juveniles.
Bell pled guilty to these charges against him.
Bell’s sentence is two years probation and two-hundred hours of community service. This is Bell’s brief statement that he made through the Zoom communications internet website. “I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong,” said Bell. “I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way, but that was obviously not my intention. I have taken this matter very, very seriously. And again, I just want to apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.”
The victim made a statement about the court case. She stated that Bell groomed her at the age of twelve-years-old before he sexually assaulted her. The statement is below:
I chose to write this statement because I want justice to be served more than anything. The only time that the defendant has appeared in court in person was on June 3 for his arraignment. That was before the media found out about this case. He has appeared in court today over Zoom instead of appearing in person. This doesn’t surprise me. It shows what a coward he is. But I am not a coward. And that is why I’m going to reveal all of the details of the crimes that he committed against me.
The only other time that the defendant sexually assaulted me was in October of 2017 aside from the time in Cleveland. It happened in Illinois in the middle of the night. He digitally penetrated me in the backseat of my aunt’s car while she drove him to a friend’s house. Illinois police only agreed to move forward with that case if the Ohio police did not pursue this case.
I don’t understand, regardless of their reasons, why he got way with sexually assaulting me in Illinois. So today I will discuss the details of the crimes that he has pleaded guilty to and the impact that they have had on me. But before I do that I would like to provide you with some context on my relationship with the defendant and what led up to these crimes.
This portion of my statement explains how he began to groom me when I was twelve-years-old.
I started off as a fan. I was definitely one of his biggest fans. Everyone who knew me as a child knew that he was a hero to me. I would have done anything for him. When I was eleven-years-old I learned that my aunt knew a mutual friend who knew the defendant. That led to my aunt taking me to meet him for the first time in 2014 when I was twelve-years-old.
I adored him. He instantly made me feel that he adored me right back. From the time I was twelve-years-old to fifteen-years-old my aunt took me to meet him and to spend time with him many times. After I met him for the first time he started to speak to me more frequently online. I confided in him about very personal things about myself. This included my struggle with my mental health. I went to him for advice and for someone to lean on. He gave me that. I felt protected. I felt loved by him.
When I was thirteen-years-old I went to him for boy advice. He told me that I was beautiful. He told me that boys were stupid. He then sent me a photograph of myself that he had screen-capped from my Instagram account. It said I was, “Such a cutie.” I took and uploaded that photograph online a year earlier when I was twelve-years-old. He saved that photograph of me onto his telephone. I didn’t realize how disturbing that was for many years. Later, another incident where he displayed his creepy behavior happened. I was fourteen-years-old when I went to see him to spend time with him. He told me that he couldn’t believe how much I grew since he last saw me. He said that I wasn’t little anymore. I said, “You are a woman now.”
When I was fifteen-years-old I noticed a huge shift regarding his treatment and attitude toward me. When I was younger he acted sweet. He wanted to talk to me about my life. But at fifteen-years-old he started to send me messages about how “hot” I was.
I messaged him in the summer of 2017. I told him that I was going to see him at his concert in the following months. He replied by telling me that he couldn’t wait to see me. He also asked me, “How old are you now?” I told him I was fifteen. He then told me to, “Hurry up.”
His messages to me became blatantly sexual not too long after that point-in-time. This eventually led to many months of inappropriate messages and photographs being exchanged over Instagram and over Snapchat. The photographs that were exchanged included photographs of my body. He also sent me lude photographs of his body and of his genitals.
At first I was excited. I thought that he really liked me. I felt that I meant something to him. But that did not last. The last thing I wanted was to lose him at the time. This was not because I was completely infatuated with him. I felt like this because I was scared of him. There were times where I felt uncomfortable talking to him in such graphic sexual ways. I wanted to be left alone. But I had a very hard time telling him that. I was terrified of making him mad.
When I did upset him he made me cry. He acted spiteful if I did not give him what he wanted. It made me feel guilty. He made me feel disgusting and absolutely awful about myself. At that point it was clear that he was the one who was in control. I felt trapped and I felt stuck because I still idolized him. I was wrapped around his finger. This caused a tremendous amount of stress and a tremendous amount of shame because of the crimes that he committed against me in Cleveland.
I want to make something very clear. The reason that these particular incidents did not result any further than oral sex was because the defendant knew that I was menstruating at the time. If that was not the case, then, he would have raped me.
He continually told me that he wanted to penetrate me vaginally. He used much more vulgar language. On December 1, 2017, my aunt took me to the Odeon concert to watch him perform. That night the defendant took me backstage to be alone with him. He started to kiss me. The night ended with him forcing me to perform oral sex on him twice.
The next incident happened on December 2, 2017. While I was alone with him in his hotel room he talked to me about how he wanted to see me one last time before my family and I left Cleveland to go home. As a result I went to his hotel room to say good-bye. He started to kiss me at that time. He made me perform oral sex on him again.
My aunt was right outside the room waiting in the hallway while this happened. She trusted him. She never thought that he would ever do the things that he did to me.
Now, I would like to bring up an individual who has known about these crimes that Drake Bell committed for years. This person is the defendant’s partner. Her name is Janet Von. In January of 2018, I was involved an inappropriate conversation with who I thought was the defendant. I received a message back from the defendant’s account claiming to be Janet. That was the first interaction I ever had with her. This confused and devastated me.
I then begged the defendant for an explanation about that exchange with Janet Von. He brushed it off and claimed that everything was fine. After these crimes were committed I tried to shake-off all of the gross feelings that I had, but, when I ignored those feelings I only felt worse. I felt miserable. I felt broken. I felt humiliated. I struggled to sleep every night. The sexual messages continued for some time after that until I eventually put a stop to them. I confronted him about what he had done to me. I confronted him in September of 2018. That was weeks before I reported the Illinois and Ohio crimes to my local police.
I chose to confront him about what he had done to me because I wanted to gain my power back. I had to suck up all of the fear that I felt in order to confront him. He ignored me for many days at first. Eventually, he tried to apologize to me for “breaking my heart.” He deleted those messages quickly afterward. His crimes are not heartbreaking, or whatever other loose term he uses. They are disgusting.
He didn’t care then. He doesn’t care now. That makes me feel worthless.
I confronted Janet Von as well. When I confronted her she claimed that she did not know anything about these crimes. She denied that she spoke to me in January of 2018. She claimed that the person I communicated with wasn’t her. She told me that none of this was my fault and she even apologized to me.
However, she also told me that she wanted me to, “Jump in front of a car.” At one point she asked me to let her know when I planned to go to the police with my accusations simply for her own benefit. I did not do that of course. She knows what happened and she does not care.
Janet is just one of the few people who have desperately tried to protect him. The others will now know exactly who they are.
The pain that the defendant has caused me is indescribable. It worsens every day. I was used by somebody who meant the world to me. That has left me feeling more hurt than I have ever felt before.
I am now nineteen-years-old. My life hasn’t been the same since I was fifteen. I think about these crimes every day. I feel like I am in a constantly dark place. Sometimes I wish I could disappear. Sometimes I wish that I could forget about what happened right after I reported him.
My parents sent me to a therapist. So far they spent around $7,000 in hopes that my therapist can help me to move forward from these horrific incidents.
In addition, these crimes impacted my relationship with my aunt. For a while I could not fathom how my aunt had no idea clue what was going on. And that made me doubt the trust that I had in her.
There is still tension and awkwardness between my aunt and I every time I speak to her. I think about the defendant and what he did to me all the time. My relationship with my aunt will never be the same. That fact breaks my heart.
My whole family hurts because of what I went through. Their trust in my aunt has been affected, too. My aunt blames herself because she left me alone with the defendant numerous times. And then my parents blame themselves for placing our trust in my aunt to protect me and to keep me safe. It is awful to hear them say that.
Every night I dread going to sleep because I do not want to see him in my nightmares. I have lost many nights of sleep because of him. I lost count over how many times I fell asleep in class when I was in high-school due to so many sleepless nights. I also occasionally left school early due to panic attacks that were triggered by these incidents. When this panic attacks occurred I struggled to breathe. I sweated. I fainted. I cried.
These crimes have affected my relationships with men as well. Every date I have gone on since these incidents took place ended with me crying. Every time I feel vulnerable around a guy I see the defendant. I have serious trust issues because of what he did to me. I think many people would agree that dating for a young person should be a fun experience. It should not be something that brings up trauma that was caused by a grown man to a young child.
The defendant’s crimes against me are the worst things that he could have ever done to me. He was such a huge part of my childhood. He ruined my life.
Back when I confronted him he told me that he didn’t want me to hate him. I don’t hate him. I loathe him. Now, I would like to ask you something important. Don’t you feel that even if a person has a lot of influence he or she should still face punishment for his unforgivable and inexcusable crimes? The things that he did to me can never be taken back.
He was a calculating man. He preyed on me. He sexually abused me. He is a monster. He is a danger to children. I am kindly asking you to send a powerful message that these crimes are never okay. They are not okay no matter who a person is that commits these crimes.
I also want to bring up the letter that I wrote to you. I explained why the defendant is not remorseful for his crimes in my letter. I described how he found public humor in my accusations.
He used tactics to gain sympathy from the public. He could have easily ignored the people online who mocked this case. Instead, he went out of his way to let them know that he thinks this entire trial is funny to him.
The crimes that he committed against me are some kind of sick joke to him. My suffering is not for him to laugh at or for him to use as his leverage to brag about becoming a “good man” now that he is a father. If the defendant tries to tell you that he is remorseful today I ask you to appreciate that actions speak louder than words.
His actions were loud and clear since his arraignment and since his plea hearing. They have shown that he does not care. He feels not one ounce of remorse. I will not be surprised if he tries to manipulate everybody into believing that he is a changed man.
However, he can not fool me. If he says that he is truly sorry for what he did, then, I know that he is just sorry that he was caught. He is sorry that he faces punishment for his crimes. I can assure you of that.
He committed these crimes against me with pride. I know that a defendant who clearly feels no remorse for his crimes deserves to get the maximum sentence possible.
I will never forget what he did to me. I idolized and looked up to him. He took that and broke it in the most sickening way possible.
He is the epitome of evil. I deserve better than to be used for his sick desires. I deserve better than this person’s actions which caused my suffering to be used for his amusement.
Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile. That is his legacy.
Bell’s real name was Jared Bell prior to his rise to fame as a Nickelodeon child-star.
I hope the victim will be able to move on after the pressures of this court case.