Drake Bell details 'extensive' sexual abuse as child star by Nickelodeon dialogue coach Brian Peck

"I had no way out. The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal," the "Drake & Josh" star shares in upcoming docuseries, "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV."

Nickelodeon star Drake Bell is speaking publicly for the first time about the sexual abuse he survived as a teenager.

In the upcoming docuseries, Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, the former child star details the abuse repeatedly perpetrated by Brian Peck, the convicted child molester who worked as a dialogue coach on The Amanda Show while Bell was a cast member. "Why don’t you do this: why don’t you think of the worst stuff that somebody could do to somebody as a sexual assault, and that’ll answer your question," Bell says on the Investigation Discovery show about his abuse. "I don’t know how else to put it. It was not a one-time thing, it was not a ‘Oops.'"

In the third episode of the four-part series, Bell reveals that he was the anonymous teen whose accounts of abuse led to Peck’s 2003 arrest and eventual conviction. Peck — no relation to Bell's Drake & Josh costar Josh Peck — pleaded no contest to charges of committing a lewd act against a child and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

“Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.

Reps for Peck did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images Drake Bell
Christopher Polk/Getty Images Drake Bell

Bell, now 37, discusses his relationship with Peck, now 63, while they both worked on The Amanda Show. He explains that he and Peck initially connected over their mutual love for Old Hollywood. “Brian and I became really close because we had a lot of the same interests, which, looking back, I think that was probably a little calculated,” he says.

Bell’s father and manager, Joe Bell, immediately felt that something was off with Peck. “I started to see Brian just start to hang around Drake too much, and it didn’t sit well with me,” Joe explains in the docuseries, which premieres on Sunday. “Drake would be in the dressing room or something, and in would pop Brian, and just touch Drake, you know, do things that, wait a second. What are you doing? Drake can put that on himself.”

He continues, "The thing is, this in front of people. Then he’d maybe walk over to Drake and be feeding him some lines or whatever, and put his arm around his waist. Put his hand up on his shoulder, and kinda run it down his arm, and things like that. And this would happen routinely. It was just always uncomfortable.”

Joe says he voiced his concerns to members of the crew. “I went to production and said, ‘You know, I really am very uncomfortable with this guy, Brian Peck, always being around my son,’” the actor’s father explains. “I go, ‘I don’t see anything abnormal, but I don’t have a good feeling.’ And she goes, ‘Oh, I don’t know if you knew it or not, but he’s gay. Maybe you’re just homophobic, and you just don’t understand that he’s a touchy-feely guy.’ So I said, ‘Okay.’ And it just kept not sitting well with me, so I told people on the set. And I was ostracized, so I backed off.”

Once Bell was offered his own show (Drake & Josh), his relationship with his father took a turn for the worse, which both Bells blame on Peck intentionally driving a wedge between them by convincing the teen actor that his father shouldn’t be his manager. “He started talking about how my dad’s stealing my money, nobody likes that my dad’s on set, he’s a real problem,” Bell says. “So he just started making me believe that he was horrible for my career, I wasn’t gonna be able to move forward with him in it. And coming from someone like Brian, I was believing it because he’s been in this business for so long, and he must know more than us.”

The actor goes on to explain that Peck exploited the strained relationship between his two parents, who are divorced, and convinced Bell’s mother to allow teen Drake to cut business ties with his father. Once Joe relinquished his duties as manager, Peck persuaded the actor’s mother to let Bell stay at his house and drive the teen star to auditions.

“I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep, and I woke up to him — I opened my eyes, I woke up, and he was, he was sexually assaulting me,” Bell recalls of the first instance of physical abuse. “And I froze and was in complete shock, and had no idea what to do, or how to react. And I had no idea how to get out of the situation. What am I [gonna do], call my mom and be like ‘Hey, this just happened, can you come pick me up? I’ll just sit here and wait.’ I had no car, I didn’t drive. I was 15 at this time.”

<p>Gary Livingston/Getty</p> Drake Bell in 2001

Gary Livingston/Getty

Drake Bell in 2001

"I couldn’t say ‘I no longer wanna go to Brian’s house’ because they’re gonna raise questions — ‘Well why don’t you wanna go to Brian’s?’” Bell says of keeping the abuse a secret at the time. “And then you know he’s so apologetic: ‘Oh, this’ll never happen again, I’m so sorry, I don’t know what got into me, and I crossed a line, and this’ll never happen again.’"

Bell explains that Peck "figured out how to convince" the actor's mom to allow the teen to stay over. "Anytime I would have an audition, or anytime I needed to work on dialogue or anything, I somehow ended up back at Brian’s house," he says. "And it just got worse and worse and worse and worse. And I was just trapped. And I didn’t, I had no way out. The abuse was extensive and it got pretty brutal."

The actor explains that he didn’t find a way out until he got into a relationship, and his girlfriend’s mother immediately recognized that something was amiss when Peck repeatedly called the actor at her home. She took Bell to her family therapist and encouraged him to share about his experience there.

Bell eventually told his own mother about the abuse and she immediately called the police. “The investigation was pretty brutal,” he says. “I had to be excruciatingly detailed about every single thing, time that it had happened with two absolute strangers. The worst part was I had to make a phone call to Brian and get him to admit what he’d done.”

“I said, you know, ‘I’m really struggling with this stuff now, and I’m so torn up, I’m so broken, I can’t, I’m so emotionally distressed right now. Why did this happen?’” Bell continues. “He just started a full-on confession. And then, he kept asking me over and over again, ‘Are we being recorded?’ It was all these mixed emotions of ‘Thank God, finally this gets handled and finally something happens to this person.’ I was like ‘What next, what next, you know?’”

Peck was ultimately arrested in 2003 and convicted of child molestation in 2004, pleading no contest to a charge of performing a lewd act with a 14- or 15-year-old and a charge of oral copulation with a minor under 16, though the identity of his victim was not made public. He was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Bell is among multiple former cast members, writers, and other crew members interviewed about their accounts of working on popular Nickelodeon shows in the upcoming docuseries.

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV airs March 17 and 18 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on ID.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

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