Former Cake Drummer Gets 15 Years to Life for Child Molestation

Pete McNeal must also register as a sex offender for life

Former Cake drummer Peter Ivan McNeal was sentenced to 15 years to life for child molestation. Credit: LAPD

A former drummer for Cake and Norah Jones has been sentenced to 15 years to life in a California state prison for molesting a 3-year-old girl in 2009. The musician – 48-year-old Peter Ivan McNeal – must also register as a sex offender for life by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Fred Wapner.

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In 2013, a jury found McNeal guilty of one count of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson said the drummer molested the girl on Thanksgiving 2009 at a home in Laurel Canyon, where he was a guest. McNeal was arrested in January 2012 and released on $250,000 bail. Drum! magazine reports that the percussionist's first trial ended in a mistrial; a second one delivered the guilty verdict.

The drummer was previously arrested in 2009 on a separate charge of attempted molestation of a young girl.

McNeal played with the alt-rock group Cake from 2001 to 2004, replacing founding drummer Todd Roper, and contributed to the band's 2007 LP B-Sides and Rarities and 2011 album Showroom of Compassion. After his stint with the alt-rockers, he appeared on Jones' 2009 album The Fall. His playing also appears on the score album for Miranda July's movie Me, You and Everyone We Know, the song "Mef Vs. Chef 2" by Method Man and Raekwon and on records by Breakestra, Mike Doughty and Connie Price and the Keystones.

"I was devastated to hear of the arrest," Doughty told Fox News in 2012. "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."