Fox News Flash top entertainment headlines for September 17
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Drake Bell offered his fans an “explanation” about his conviction for child endangerment.
The former Nickelodeon star was sentenced to two years probation by an Ohio judge in July after pleading guilty to criminal charges involving a minor. Now, Bell, 35, is opening up about the alleged “false” claims made about him during the time his case was in the spotlight.
“A lot of the news that you’ve been hearing, most of the news that you’ve hard recently, is entirely false and wrong, and I feel that you deserve and I owe you an explanation,” he began in an Instagram video.
Bell clarified he has not changed his name to Drake Campana, which is the name of his Instagram handle. Bell went on to claim that he was a part of a three-year investigation and then provided some details about his communication with a minor over text messages.
“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,” Bell said. “If these claims were remotely true, my situation would be very different, and I would not be here at home with my wife and my son. But that being said, I’m not perfect, and I made mistakes. 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 Bell is known for his former role on Nickelodeon’s ‘Drake and Josh.’
(Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Dept.)
He continued, “And this individual continued to come to shows and pay for meet and greets, all while I was unaware that this was the same person that I was communicating with online. And, uh, and that’s what I pled guilty to. You know, I … it was reckless and irresponsible text messages.
“I want to make clear that there were no sexual images, nothing physical, between me and this individual,” he continued. “I was not charged with anything physical. I was not charged with disseminating a photograph or images or anything like that. This is strictly over text messages. When I was presented with a plea deal because of the messages I felt that it was the best way to get this over quickly and for everybody involved to be able to move on and for me to get back to doing what I love and that’s making music for you.”
Bell concluded by thanking his fans for “sticking by” him.
Bell’s video did not make mention of his probation sentence. In July, the former child actor was sentenced to two years probation, 200 hours of community service in California, and was ordered to not have any contact with the victim. After his probation, the judge said his sex offender status would be reviewed.
“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. “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.”
Before the sentencing, the female victim, now 19 years old, 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.
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