The former Nickelodeon star was sentenced to two years probation by an Ohio judge after pleading guilty to criminal charges involving a minor. Bell, 35, whose real name is Jared Drake Bell, appeared in court Monday via Zoom from California where he was handed probation as well as 200 hours of community service and an order not to have contact with the victim.
People reports that less than an hour after his virtual court appearance, Bell took to Instagram Live where fans may have assumed he’d speak out about the case. However, he instead sat with his son in his lap as he played the piano and sang to him and the camera.
“Father Son jam sesh,” he captioned the video, which the outlet reports was posted to his feed but has seemingly been removed since.
People notes that the video, like most of his musical posts on Instagram, appeared to be posted from the same room in which he sat for his sentencing hearing. He had reportedly changed out of his suit jacket and tie into a casual shirt.
The brief Instagram Live appearance marks the actor and musician’s first social media post with his son after confirming in a June 29 statement, written in Spanish, that he and his wife of three years, Janet Von Schmeling, had welcomed their first child together.
“In response to various rumors that are incorrect, I have been married for almost 3 years, and we are blessed to be the parents of a wonderful son,” a translation of Bell’s post at the time reads.
“Thank you very much to all my fans around the world for your good wishes,” he added in the tweet.
That same month, Bell pleaded guilty to one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and one count of attempted endangering children. He posted a $2,500 bond and was released from the Cuyahoga County Jail on June 3 after being arrested in Cleveland.
“Today I accept this plea because my conduct was wrong. I’m sorry that the victim was harmed in any way — that was obviously not my intention,” Bell said in court Monday after his sentencing was handed down. “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.”
Prior to the judge’s ruling, Bell’s victim, now 19, spoke about the ordeal.
“The pain that the defendant has caused me is indescribable, and it worsens every day,” she said in an emotional statement. “Being used by somebody who meant the world to me has left me feeling more hurt than I have ever been before.”
She also called Bell a pedophile, accused him of sexual misconduct on two occasions, and sending her “blatantly” sexual photos and messages when she was a teen.
Bell’s lawyer denied the claims in his rebuttal statement.
The actor’s attorneys, Ian Friedman and Madelyn Grant, further discussed the case in a statement shared on Twitter.
“Today’s plea and sentence reflect conduct for which Mr. Bell did accept responsibility,” the statement reads. “The victim’s allegations that went beyond that which all parties agreed, not only lack supporting evidence but are contradicted by the facts learned through extensive investigation.”
They went on to note that sexual registration was not imposed and he did not plead guilty to any such offense. Bell pleaded guilty to one count of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles and one count of attempted endangering children.
“Drake and his family are relieved and grateful to have this matter behind them. He looks forward to, once again, performing for all of his supportive fans around the world,” the statement concludes.
Fox 8 previously reported that Bell allegedly engaged in an inappropriate chat with a victim that “at times, was sexual in nature.”
According to the outlet, prosecutors say the victim, 15, filed a report with a local police department in Canada in 2018 regarding an incident involving Bell that took place in Cleveland on Dec. 1, 2017. Police in Canada contacted authorities in Cleveland and an investigation ensued.
Bell tweeted about playing Cleveland’s The Odeon Concert Club on Dec. 1 of that year but the post has since been deleted.
At the concert, Bell allegedly “violated his duty of care and, in doing so, created a risk of harm to the victim,” prosecutors said.
Bell is also known as Drake Campana. “Drake and Josh” ran from 2004-2007 and saw him and his onscreen brother Josh Peck as teens trying to survive high school and learning to get along.
Since “Drake & Josh” ended in 2007, Bell has done voice acting and starred in various short films. He also voiced Timmy Turner in three television movies of the Nickelodeon cartoon “Fairly Odd Parents.”