No, that isn’t a post-show picture of John Mulaney taken in the world’s most poorly-lit comedy club hallway. It’s 34-year-old Drake Bell, former Nickelodeon star, aspiring Spanish-language singer, and according to multiple reports, current threat to children. Drake was arrested in Ohio and charged with disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and attempted endangering children.
FOX 8 Cleveland has the arrest and court details on Drake Bell (whose real name is Jared Drake Bell, a fact that only serves to make me think the name Jared is cursed). They say that court documents show Drake appeared in a Cuyahoga County court yesterday, where he entered a not guilty plea on the charges and was released on a $2500 personal bond. His mugshot was taken yesterday around 3 pm. He has been ordered to have no contact with the victim in this case, which Drake has reportedly agreed to. It isn’t known exactly what day Drake was arrested, but FOX 8 says that the alleged incident happened on December 1st, 2017. Drake would have been 31 at the time of the alleged incident, and FOX 8 reports the victim involved was 14 at the time:
According to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, the victim, 15, filed a report with her local police department in Canada in October 2018 regarding an incident involving Bell that occurred the previous year in Cleveland. Officials say Canadian authorities contacted Cleveland police who conducted an investigation into the allegations.
The investigation reportedly revealed that the victim had established a relationship with Bell several years prior. She then attended his Cleveland concert in December 2017.
Drake played The Odeon Concert Club in Cleveland on December 1st, 2017, which is when everything took place. It also sounds like Drake had allegedly been grooming the victim for months prior to the incident:
At that concert “Bell violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim,” the Prosecutor’s Office reports. The investigation also revealed that months leading up to the concert, Bell allegedly sent the victim inappropriate social media messages.
Sources tell FOX 8 that they have heard that despite entering a not guilty plea, Drake is expected to enter a plea of “no contest” or “guilty” at a pretrial hearing scheduled for June 23rd. The charge of attempted endangering children is a 4th-degree felony, and the charge of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles is a 1st-degree misdemeanor.
TMZ has a tiny bit more to add, and that’s that they have heard Drake was indicted last month. TMZ reached out to Drake and his people for comment, but they didn’t get anything back.
This is far from Drake Bell’s first run-in with the law, but it’s objectively the worst, PR-wise. Drake has gone to jail twice for DUI. In 2014, he reportedly filed for bankruptcy, but the only thing he was endangering there was his ability to keep a house out of foreclosure.
As for what he’s charged with. In Ohio, endangerment of a child can refer to many things, like abuse, or coercing a child to do something not right. But the part about “disseminating matter” had me confused, so I went to the internet, and it tells us that’s a specific law in Ohio that relates to an adult offering or presenting “obscene or harmful material” to a minor, or allowing a minor to view said material in the adult’s presence. All I have to say to all of that is: yeeeesh. But also, I’ll say that Josh Peck probably read this news, and started to feel a little less guilty about not inviting his former Drake & Josh co-star to his wedding back in 2017. And why do I get the feeling that this also explains why Drake suddenly turned into a Spanish-language singer and changed his name to Drake Campana last year. Except that faking a Spanish accent and trying to convince the arresting officers that your name isn’t Drake Bell is something that doesn’t even work on a Nickelodeon show.
Pic: Cuyahoga County Jail