In news sure to shock fans around the world, drummer Pete McNeal who was drummer for rock band Cake from 2001 to 2004, as well as drummer for Norah Jones and Mike Doughty, has been arrested, charged, and is facing trial for alleged sex crimes against a minor.
McNeal, was arrested in Los Angeles last month but has been out on $250,000 bail. On Friday he faced a preliminary hearing to face the felony charge issued against him for oral copulation/sexual penetration of a child under the age of 10.
Authorities in Los Angeles believe there may be additional victims and have made the case public in an effort to locate additional children who may have been victims. McNeal was previously arrested in 2009 on a separate charge of attempted molestation of a young girl, but the status of that case is not clear.
Prosecutors on Friday requested that the judge assigned to the case increase McNeal’s bail to $1.5 million but the judge rejected their request and kept bail at $250,000.
California criminal defence attorney, David E. Wohl, who is not involved with the case, commented to Fox News that although there would no doubt be concerns from the community about the bail conditions it was not uncommon for a case of this type.
“It’s always a concern, especially to the victims, that an alleged child molester has been released on bail,” Wohl said. “Bail however, is a constitutional right in most cases, and this one is no exception. He will be watched closely by authorities, rest assured.”
Cake and their representatives have declined offers to comment on the charges, but Mike Doughty has told reporters that he is shocked and appalled by the charges. “I was devastated to hear of the arrest,” he told a local television station.
“There is nothing in my experience of Pete that indicates he’s a monster. I’m horrified to note that, of course, that’s always what people say. But someone accused of child molestation usually gets labeled as a monster permanently, regardless of what a jury decides.”
“I beg everybody to remember that, even if he’s innocent, and acquitted, this could ruin so much of his life.”
Attorney Wohl says that if convicted of the full charge McNeal would face a minimum 25 years to life in prison. “Mr. McNeal’s got plenty to be worried about,” he said. “There is no latitude for the judge, that sentence is mandatory.”
“If he’s convicted of a ‘lesser’ offense, for example oral copulation with a child 10 or younger, he faces 15 years to life in prison.” Arraignment is scheduled for 10th February in Los Angeles.