Former superstar, Drake Bell, of Nickelodeon shows like “The Amanda Show” and “Drake and Josh,” pleaded guilty earlier this week to disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and attempted child endangerment.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s spokesman Tyler Sinclair of Ohio said the alleged charges come from an incident in 2017 where Bell has been accused of engaging in multiple conversations of a sexual nature with a 15-year-old fan over private messages on social media.
According to Fox, “The child actor was informed by the judge that attempted endangering children, a felony of the fourth degree, carries a maximum sentence of anywhere between six to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Disseminating matter harmful to juveniles is a first-degree misdemeanor and carries a sentence of up to six months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.”
His sentencing hearing is set for July 12 in Cleveland.
Bell hasn’t been the only former child star facing multiple charges of sending inappropriate material to children. Former Disney Channel star Kyle Massey, star of the show “That’s So Raven,” has been arrested on similar charges this week. The 35-year-old man allegedly sent pornographic material and engaged in conversations of a sexual nature with a 13-year-old girl over Snapchat at the beginning of 2019.
Massey’s lawyers denied the charges in a statement to Variety, saying:
“It is unfortunate that Kyle Massey had to learn through the media yesterday that the 2019 allegations have resurfaced in the State of Washington a year after their dismissal.”
“Massey claims that the allegations then and now are extortive. The statements made to the police regarding the accuser’s own counsel’s advice seem peculiar, tearing away the veracity from the stale allegations. The accusers in no hidden agenda attempt to use the Washington courts as a platform for revenge after losing the civil matter,” the attorney continued. “Indeed, California counsel withdrew from representation from the accuser leaving us to conclude that he was not willing to make misrepresentations to the court. The Washington matter is already showing problematic signs. Massey was never properly served or notified as represented to the court and the pleadings are procedurally and substantively deficient on its face.”
The charges come at a time when both Disney and Nickelodeon are under fire for targeting children with sexually themed material in honor of Pride month. The two networks, which target underage viewers, have featured LGBTQ programming led by drag queen Nina West.
Disney featured a “This Is Me: Pride Celebration Spectacular” concert in which West and a host of former Disney child stars sang along with Kermit the Frog, reworking classic Disney songs to celebrate LGBTQ lifestyles.