Cornell fraternity president arrested on sexual assault charges
ITHACA, NY — The president of a Cornell University fraternity was arrested after an alleged sexual assault in his fraternity house bedroom, according to court documents.
Wolfgang Ballinger, 21, is charged with attempted rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, and sex abuse in the first degree, documents in Tompkins County, New York, say.
Ballinger, president of the Psi Upsilon chapter at Cornell, turned himself in to campus police Thursday, according to a university statement.
He was arraigned in Ithaca City Court, according to a court assistant.
His attorney, Jim Baker, who entered a not guilty plea on his behalf, did not return a request for comment.
Ballinger was remanded to the Tompkins County Jail in Ithaca and held on $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond, according to a Cornell University statement. His next court appearance is February 9. He remained in jail Friday evening.
The alleged incident occurred overnight Saturday. The victim told police that Ballinger brought her to his bedroom and locked the door at 2 a.m., according to court documents.
Ballinger tried to have forcible sexual intercourse with her, the court documents say. He’s also accused of forceful oral sex and using his hands to sexually abuse her.
The victim refused, telling Ballinger that she was “not interested” and “too intoxicated,” the court documents say.
Cornell police the following day issued a “crime alert” informing students of the alleged assault, according to the university statement.
In a statement, Cornell University President Elizabeth Garrett said: “I am deeply disturbed by the allegations of sexual assault involving the president of Psi Upsilon. Sexual violence has no place at Cornell, and if these allegations are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable.”
In a video posted to YouTube in December, Ballinger identified himself as a junior in Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration and the president of the Psi Upsilon fraternity there.
The post, called “A short video on a longer journey,” shows Ballinger sitting in front of a camera, describing his academic career, work experiences and his hopes for the future.
“At a young age, I was taught to appreciate the value of hard work, and especially self-made work,” Ballinger said, adding that he aspires to open his own restaurant some day. Ballinger said his father owns bars and nightclubs in New York and Canada.
The fraternity was suspended on Monday as a result of “alleged sexual misconduct taking place at the fraternity house,” according to a statement by Travis T. Apgar, senior associate dean of students at the University.
The suspension is invoked when “details of a credible report compel the university to cease activities of the organization for the safety of the members, those joining or guests,” Apgar said.
During this suspension, the chapter “may not engage in any activities other than operation of its residence,” according to the statement.
In a statement Friday, Psi Upsilon executive director Thomas Fox said the fraternity has suspended all chapter activity on campus.
“Sexual assault, and any form of sexual harassment, is against our policy and in opposition of the values of Psi Upsilon” Fox said. “Our chapter is cooperating with Cornell’s investigation into this matter and any members involved will be held accountable. The Chi Chapter at Cornell has a distinguished history with the University and we are committed to continuing to be a benefit to Cornell and the Ithaca Community. ”
Psi Upsilon’s chapter at Cornell was chartered in 1876.