Mesko, left, in court

Ithaca, N.Y. — Peter Mesko is in jail.

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The former Cornell student arrived at the Tompkins County Jail at 5 p.m. Thursday. He was found guilty on first-degree sexual abuse and second-degree burglary charges earlier in the day.

Mesko, left, in court

A jury remains deadlocked on a first-degree rape charge, according to Tompkins County Court officials. The 12 jurors have been undecided on that charge — the most serious of the three — since the prosecution and defense attorneys made their closing arguments two days ago.

Mesko, 23, has been out of jail on bond since he was accused of raping another Cornell student while she slept in a Collegetown home in the early morning hours of March 30, 2013.

Bail for Mesko’s release has been set at $50,000 cash, according to officials with the Tompkins County Jail.

Even if Mesko is found not guilty on the rape charge, he could still face a lengthy prison sentence.

The second-degree burglary charge carries between a 3.5 and 15 year sentence; the sexual abuse conviction charge carries between 2 and 7 years.

Mesko, a former Cornell wrestler, is from Pennsylvania. A group of his family and friends has attended the trial.

Both sides made emotional closing statements, with Assistant District Attorney Wendy Franklin expressing incredulity that Mesko could be acquitted on the rape charge.

She said there was both physical evidence of Mesko’s guilt — there was some evidence of male DNA found on the victim; and the victim’s roommate took a photo of Mesko after the reported attack — and powerful, credible testimony from the victim.

“It’s not like a fly just went by. It’s, ‘I’m waking up and there’s a stranger’s penis inside of me,’” Franklin said.

See related: Prosecution in Cornell rape trial: ‘There is no manual for when you have been sexually assaulted’


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.