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Drake Bell speaks out for the first time after child endangerment conviction: 'I make mistakes'


Drake Bell spoke out for the first time since he was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to child endangerment charges.  

The 35-year-old actor, who was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service in July, shared an Instagram video captioned: ‘To my fans.’ 

In the groveling message, he went into damage control and did his best to down play his conviction.   

‘Most of the news you’ve heard recently is entirely false and wrong,’ Drake said in the clip that he posted on Thursday.

Speaking out: Drake Bell spoke out for the first time since he was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to child endangerment charges

Speaking out: Drake Bell spoke out for the first time since he was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty to child endangerment charges

‘I feel that you deserve, and I owe you, an explanation, he continued. ‘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. I didn’t get arrested, I didn’t go to jail.’

The Josh & Drake star had begun his video, which was subtitled in Spanish, by clarifying his name was Drake Bell,  not Drake Campana. Bell’s name is currently displayed as ‘Drake Campana’ in his Instagram bio.

Clarification: The Josh & Drake star had begun his video, which was subtitled in Spanish, by clarifying his name was Drake Bell, not Drake Campana

Clarification: The Josh & Drake star had begun his video, which was subtitled in Spanish, by clarifying his name was Drake Bell, not Drake Campana

Drake’s legal name is Jared Drake Bell but he shared an image of a Mexican ID with the name Drake Campana(Spanish for Bell) in November 2019, hinting that he had moved to the country. 

He also appeared to rebrand himself as a Spanish language artist, releasing a Spanish album in 2020, and his social media posts are currently in a mix of Spanish and English.

Bell continued, ‘I know that this has moved very quickly for you, but for me, it’s been a three-year, thorough investigation into every false claim that has been made.’

‘And, it’s not me telling you that the claims are false, but the state of Ohio has proven the 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.’

In July, Bell confirmed he has been secretly married to Janet Von Schmeling, who is the mother of his baby son, for almost three years.  

He went on to say, ‘But that being said, I am not perfect, and I make mistakes.’ 

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‘I responded to a fan, whose age I didn’t know, yet when I became aware of their age, all conversation and communication stopped.’ 

Drake said,  '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.' In July, Bell confirmed he has been secretly married to Janet Von Schmeling, who is the mother of his baby son, for almost three years

Drake said,  ‘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.’ In July, Bell confirmed he has been secretly married to Janet Von Schmeling, who is the mother of his baby son, for almost three years

The I Know singer continued, ‘This individual continued to come to shows and pay for meet and greets, all while I was unaware that this was the same person I was communicating with online, and that’s what I plead guilty to.

‘It was reckless and irresponsible text messages. I want to make clear there were no sexual images, nothing physical between me and this individual.’ 

He added, ‘I was not charged with anything physical. I was not charged with disseminating her images or anything like that. This was strictly over text messages. 

‘And when I was presented with a plea deal, because of the messages, I felt that this was the best way to get this over quickly, and for everyone involved to be able to move on. And for me to get back to doing what I love, and that is making music for you.’

‘I want to thank you, for um, to everyone who saw through the lies and did the research and looked at my case and saw it for what it was instead of all this media confusion.’

Defense: Drake said that the conviction related to 'reckless and irresponsible text' and repeated that he had not been charged with 'anything physical' or disseminating any images

Defense: Drake said that the conviction related to ‘reckless and irresponsible text’ and repeated that he had not been charged with ‘anything physical’ or disseminating any images

He concluded, ‘Don’t believe the media right off the bat. It’s a lot of clickbait. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. I just want to say thank you to everyone for sticking by me. I love you and I’ll see you soon.’ 

Bell’s child endangerment charges related to a girl who met him online and attended one of his concerts in Ohio when she was 15. His sentencing was handed out by a Cleveland judge on July 12.

In an emotional impact statement read prior to sentencing, the now 19-year-old victim claimed that Bell ‘sexually abused’ her and called him a ‘monster,’ according to Deadline.

Things got heated during the virtual hearing when the victim read her impact statement via Zoom and claimed that she performed oral sex on the star when she was 15-years-old.

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Bell appeared virtually for his sentencing at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas courtroom with Judge Timothy McCormick.

He seemed visibly shocked at the accusation and in response, the victim addressed him directly saying: ‘Don’t look at me like that!’    

‘These are crimes that are unforgivable and inexcusable,’ she said. ‘They cannot be taken back. He was calculating, he preyed on me and sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children.

Sentencing: Bell was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service on child endangerment charges relating to a girl who met him online and attended one of his concerts in Ohio when she was 15 (Pictured in his June mugshot)

Sentencing: Bell was sentenced to two years probation and 200 hours of community service on child endangerment charges relating to a girl who met him online and attended one of his concerts in Ohio when she was 15 (Pictured in his June mugshot)

‘I’m kindly asking you to send a powerful message that these crimes are never okay, no matter who a person is,’ the victim continued.

She went on: ‘And he can give me that look all he wants but he knows exactly what I’m talking about.’

'These are crimes that are unforgivable and inexcusable,' she said. 'They cannot be taken back. He was calculating, he preyed on me and sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children,' the victim said

‘These are crimes that are unforgivable and inexcusable,’ she said. ‘They cannot be taken back. He was calculating, he preyed on me and sexually abused me. He is a monster and a danger to children,’ the victim said

‘He is the epitome of evil,’ she said. ‘I deserve better than to be used for his sick desires, and for my suffering to be used for his amusement. Jared Drake Bell is a pedophile and that is his legacy.’  

Bell later addressed the court: ‘I just want to say today I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong.’

‘I have taken this matter very, very seriously,’ he added. ‘I just want to apologize to her and anyone else who may have been affected by my actions.’ 

In June, after initially pleading not guilty, Bell instead pleaded guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles.

During his hearing, his attorney made sure to note that he had not been charged with the more serious crimes of sexual assault and pedophilia that the victim alleged in her impact statement. 

Authorities have said the girl, who attended a 2017 concert in Cleveland, contacted Toronto police in October 2018 over the incident. Toronto authorities then forwarded its findings to Cleveland police, prompting an investigation.

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The attempted endangering children charge relates to the concert where Bell ‘violated his duty of care’ and created a risk of harm to the victim, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office spokesperson Tyler Sinclair said previously.

Clarification: During his hearing, his attorney made sure to note that he had not been charged with the more serious crimes of sexual assault and pedophilia that the victim alleged in her impact statement (pictured with his wife in 2017)

Clarification: During his hearing, his attorney made sure to note that he had not been charged with the more serious crimes of sexual assault and pedophilia that the victim alleged in her impact statement (pictured with his wife in 2017)

Bell and the girl had ‘developed a relationship’ online several years prior to the concert, Sinclair said. 

The disseminating harmful material charge concerns Bell having sent the girl ‘inappropriate social media messages,’ Sinclair said. 

The former child star has run into trouble with the law before, after being sentenced to four days jail time in 2015 for driving while intoxicated, which was his second DUI conviction in a six-year time period.

Bell began acting as a child, but was catapulted to stardom as a teen with Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show and later Drake & Josh, which debuted on the channel in January 2004.

The final episode aired in September 2007. Bell and co-star Josh Beck also starred in two Drake & Josh movies.

Moving on: After his sentencing, Drake took to social media with a clip of a 'Father Son jam sesh' where he played the piano and sang with his infant son sitting in his lap

Moving on: After his sentencing, Drake took to social media with a clip of a ‘Father Son jam sesh’ where he played the piano and sang with his infant son sitting in his lap

In addition to his acting career, Bell is a musician and formed a band named Drake 24/7, and has released several albums to middling success. In 2006, he reached No. 81 on the Billboard 200 with his second album, It’s Only Time, selling 23,000 copies in the first week.

In July, Bell surprised fans when he confirmed that he was married and had a child. The actor revealed in a tweet, translated from Spanish, that he has ‘been married for almost three years’ and that they ‘are blessed to be the parents of a wonderful son.’

After his sentencing, Drake took to social media with a clip of a ‘Father Son jam sesh’ where he played the piano and sang with his infant son sitting in his lap. 

Charges: In June, after initially pleading not guilty, Bell instead pleaded guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles

Charges: In June, after initially pleading not guilty, Bell instead pleaded guilty to felony attempted child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles



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