Local News

Uncle Kracker's Bond Reduced to $75,000

Posted August 17, 2007 6:06 a.m. EDT
Updated August 17, 2007 10:08 p.m. EDT

— A district judge on Friday reduced the bond of singer Matthew Shafer, also known as Uncle Kracker, from $5 million to $75,000 following Shafer's arrest early Friday on a sex charge.

Shafer, a platinum record-selling country-rock-rap artist, was arrested at the Embassy Suites in Cary on a charge of second-degree forcible sex offense at about 4:45 a.m., police said.

A 26-year-old woman approached an off-duty officer at the Ess Lounge, at 326 W. Davie St. in Raleigh, saying Shafer committed a sex act against her while she was inside the establishment, police said. Shafer and the woman were not acquaintances, police said.

In a statement to People magazine, Shafer said: "It's regrettable that someone would make this kind of allegation, not only because it's not the kind of thing I'd do, as the father of two girls, it's the kind of thing that I wouldn't stand for."

Shafer, known for hits like "Follow Me," and "When the Sun Goes Down" – his duet with country star Kenny Chesney – was in Raleigh  to appear at Thursday night's Downtown Depot Party to celebrate the redevelopment of an area around the train station.

"Who this person is doesn't matter. It's what has happened that matters," said Jim Sughrue, spokesman for the Raleigh Police Department.

According to a state statute, second-degree forcible sexual offense involves sexual acts, which do not include vaginal intercourse, with a person by force and against the will of the other person, or with a person who the perpetrator knows is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

"It is not rape, and other than that, that statute on sexual offenses covers a wide range of inappropriate behavior," Sughrue said, declining to be more specific about the allegation against Shafer.

Cary police detained Shafer at the Embassy Suites until Raleigh officers arrived to serve the arrest warrant.

The management of Ess Lounge issued a statement Friday afternoon, calling the incident "a very unfortunate turn of events on what was a great night in downtown Raleigh."

"We have never had any allegations like this before, and we consider our place of business to be a very safe environment," the statement said. "We need to let the investigation work through the process. If called upon, we will fully cooperate with local authorities in regards to (the) investigation."

More than a dozen security officers, including Raleigh police officers, were at the lounge Thursday night until after it closed, the managers said in the statement.

The $5 million bond was set after Shafer told arresting officers that he would immediately fly back to Michigan to avoid prosecution, according to the conditions of release order filed by a Wake County magistrate. The order also stated that Shafer has "major assets at his disposal" and the court considers him to be an "exceptionally high flight risk."

But District Judge Jane Gray ruled a $5 million bond is outside the guidelines for a Class C felony like the charge against Shafer. The bond should have been between $50,000 and $200,000, she said.

Gray set the bond at $75,000 during a Friday afternoon hearing, with the stipulation that Shafer have no contact with the accuser.

His next court date is set for Sept. 24.