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Drake Bell Calls Out “Boy Meets World”'s Will Friedle, Rider Strong Over Past Support of His Abuser Brian Peck

The former Nickelodeon actor revealed he was sexually abused by his former dialogue coach, Brian Peck, who was eventually convicted in 2004

<p>Michael Tran/Getty, Tommaso Boddi/Getty</p> Drake Bell; Will Friedle and Rider Strong

Michael Tran/Getty, Tommaso Boddi/Getty

Drake Bell; Will Friedle and Rider Strong

Drake Bell is continuing to speak up for himself after revealing his experience with sexual abuse.

In a series of since-deleted comments left on a post from Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas that called out Rider Strong and Will Friedle — and their podcast with Danielle Fishel, Pod Meets World — Bell, 37, shared his side of the story regarding the Boy Meets World alums’ involvement in his criminal case against Brian Peck.

Strong, 44, and Friedle, 47, wrote letters advocating for Peck, who was a longtime friend of theirs and former Boy Meets World guest star when Bell accused him of sexual assault in 2003. Bell revealed the alleged assault in Investigation Discovery’s new series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, and has been speaking out about the case on social media in the days since its premiere.

“RIDER WAS 24 years old when he wrote the letter and was told by Brian what he did,” Bell wrote in a since-deleted comment on Nikolas’ post, alleging that Strong knew about the abuse he’d suffered at Peck’s hands before supporting him, per a video shared by Barstool Sports. “He wrote the letter anyway."

In another comment that has also been deleted, Bell said that Friedle was 27 at the time and “Brian told him what he did,” meaning that Friedle knew of the sexual abuse Bell had suffered. “Many people turned away and said no I won’t write a letter, but [Strong and Friedle] did.”

Bell wrote that Friedle “was not manipulated. Brian admitted it to him and he wrote the letter anyway.”

PEOPLE has reached out to Strong and Friedle for comment.

Related: Drake Bell Calls Out Ned's Declassified Alums for Mocking His Sexual Assault Revelation: 'Really?'

<p>Tommaso Boddi/Getty </p> Will Friedle and Rider Strong attend the 2022 iHeartRadio Wango Tango at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 04, 2022 in Carson, California.

Tommaso Boddi/Getty

Will Friedle and Rider Strong attend the 2022 iHeartRadio Wango Tango at Dignity Health Sports Park on June 04, 2022 in Carson, California.

After Friedle supported Peck in court — Peck, Bell’s former dialogue coach, who was “convicted in 2004 for his crimes against Drake and ordered to register as a sex offender,” Warner Bros. Discovery said in a press release shared with PEOPLE — he went on to work with the Drake & Josh actor “on many many episodes of Spiderman years later and never said a word to me about it,” Bell wrote in the comment.

According to Bell, the two Boy Meets World alums spoke out about their former friendship with Peck on a February episode of their podcast because they found out their “letters are going to be made public.”

“Everyone thought the letters would be sealed forever and no one would ever see them. This is their publicist telling them how to get ahead of the story,” his comment concluded.

Related: ID Docuseries Goes Inside Alleged 'Toxic Environment' of Kids TV Shows Under Dan Schneider

On the episode of their podcast last month, Strong said he hung out with Peck "all the time" as Friedle noted how Peck "had so ingratiated himself in my life."

"The person he presented was this great, funny guy who was really good at his job, and you wanted to hang out with," he added. "I saw him every day, hung out with him every day, talked to him every day."

Friedle said that when Peck told him about his arrest — which was on charges of lewd acts with a child, according to an August 2003 press release from LAPD — he presented it “where it wasn’t his fault” and “it was clearly the fault of his victim.”

Peck “turned us against the victim,” Friedle claimed.

"My initial instinct because of the years I've been with him was like 'Well, yeah, of course, it can't be you. Can't be. Right, you're innocent. It can't possibly be that,'" Friedle continued to recall. "So you sidle up to the guy who now you look back on as an adult and you go, 'He's horrible.' And my instinct initially was, 'Well, my friend can't be [this person], this can't be. So it's got to be the other person's fault,' has to be the story."

"Of course, it makes complete sense. The way that he's saying it and 'You're damn right, it's that kid's fault. How dare he?' And I look back at that now as an adult, and it makes me want to cry that I ever was that naive," he added.

<p>Everett </p> The cast of 'Drake & Josh': Jonathan Goldstein, Miranda Cosgrove, Drake Bell, Josh Peck and Nancy Sullivan

Everett

The cast of 'Drake & Josh': Jonathan Goldstein, Miranda Cosgrove, Drake Bell, Josh Peck and Nancy Sullivan

For Strong’s part, he said Peck “didn’t say nothing had happened" but rather suggested he was "a victim of jailbait."

“Back then, you couldn't Google to find out what people were being charged with," Strong said before speculating that “he was making a plea deal and admitting one thing — which is all he admitted to us — but it looks like he was being charged with a series of crimes, which we did not know.”

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Reflecting on their involvement in the case — they both wrote letters to the judge in Peck’s defense and appeared in court to support him — Friedle admitted they were “sitting in that courtroom on the wrong side of everything.”

"The victim's mother turned and said, 'Look at all the famous people you brought with you. And it doesn’t change what you did to my kid,'" he recalled. "I just sat there wanting to die. It was like, 'What the hell am I doing here?' It was horrifying all the way around."

"We weren't told the whole story, but it doesn't change the fact that we did it," Friedle added. "I still can't get the words out to describe all of the things that I'm feeling inside of myself."

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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