Drake Bell is speaking out.
The 35-year-old Drake & Josh actor was sentenced to two years of probation and 200 hours of community service in July after being arrested and charged with attempted endangering of children and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles in Ohio.
While he initially pleaded not guilty to the charges, he allegedly agreed to a plea deal during a virtual court appearance in June.
He posted a video to his Instagram telling fans he owed them “an explanation” on Thursday (September 16).
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“Most of the news you’ve heard recently is entirely false and wrong,” he said in the clip. “I feel that you deserve, and I owe you, an explanation. 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.”
He 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. But that being said, I am not perfect, and I make mistakes.”
Drake went on to say that he responded to a fan without knowing their age and ceased communication with them once he learned how old they were.
“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,” he continued. “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 reiterated that he hadn’t been charged with “anything physical” or disseminating any images.
“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,” Drake added. “And for me to get back to doing what I love, and that is making music for you.”
During the sentencing hearing, the now 19-year-old woman read a victim statement accusing Drake of grooming her. You can read the full statement here.