Barenaked Ladies Singer Arrested on Drug Charges

Published July 16, 2008

| Associated Press

Barenaked Ladies singer and guitarist Steven Page faces a cocaine possession charge after his arrest while visiting two woman at their suburban Syracuse apartment.

Page, 38, of Toronto, was charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison, Manlius police Capt. Bill Bleyle said Wednesday.

The arrest comes as the band, known for its clean image and cross-generational appeal, recently released a new album for children titled, "Snacktime," a collection of two dozen original children's songs.

Terry McBride, the Vancouver-based manager for the band, said Barenaked Ladies shows are still scheduled, but he declined comment on Page's arrest.

"We cannot comment because the matter is before the courts, but we are confident our client Steven will be completely exonerated," McBride said in a statement. "Until that time, it's business as usual for the Barenaked Ladies."

Page was with the band when it performed Saturday at the Horseshoe Casino and Hotel Southern Indiana in Elizabeth, Indiana.

Page's lawyer, Mark Mahoney, didn't immediately return phone calls seeking comment about the arrest. Page was originally due back in Fayetteville Village Court on Thursday, but a clerk said the case has been adjourned until Aug. 26.

The band was formed nearly 20 years ago in Toronto. It has released 12 albums, producing hits such as "If I Had $1,000,000," "Brian Wilson" and "Too Little, Too Late." The group is known for its whimsical lyrics and comedic banter on stage. In 2002, the group performed an impromptu concert at Syracuse University for VH1.

Police said Page was visiting Christine Benedicto, 27, at her Fayetteville apartment when they had an argument and Benedicto drove off in Page's vehicle.

Just after 2 a.m., Manlius officers on patrol found a car parked across the sidewalk with its driver's side door open outside the apartment. An officer looked up the license plate and saw it was registered to that address, Bleyle said.

As officers approached the house, they saw Page and Stephanie Ford, 25, at the kitchen table with a white capsule that later tested positive for cocaine, Bleyle said. Ford, who shared the apartment with Benedicto, was also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance as well as unlawful possession of marijuana.

Although Benedicto wasn't at home at the time, she was charged later Friday with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana.

All three were arraigned in Manlius Town Court. Page posted $10,000 bail for himself and $5,000 for Ford, Bleyle said. Benedicto was released on her own recognizance.

Police said they were unclear on the nature of the relationship between Page and Benedicto. Page and Carolyn Ricketts, his wife of almost 14 years, separated last year, according to newspaper reports. They have three sons.

Bleyle said officers didn't become aware of Page's celebrity until after they arrested him. The rock star offered no resistance, he said.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2008/07/16/barenaked-ladies-singer-arrested-on-drug-charges