ITHACA, N.Y. — A former Cornell fraternity president, Wolfgang Ballinger, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor Tuesday after being accused of attempted rape, among other charges, more than a year ago.
Ballinger, 22, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor forcible touching. He was initially accused of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse after being accused of luring a woman to his room at 2 Forest Park Lane on Jan. 31, 2016 at the Psi Upsilon’s Chi Chapter fraternity house. However, he was only indicted on a felony first-degree sexual abuse charge in July.
Court documents state that after the woman was in Ballinger’s room, he locked the door, pushed the woman against the door and tried having sexual intercourse with her twice from behind. He was also accused of forcing the woman to have oral sex with him and pushing her onto the bed where he allegedly sexually abused her with his fingers, records show.
Ballinger has been released on his own recognizance since his felony preliminary hearing on Feb. 9.
Judge Joseph Cassidy said a pre-sentence investigation report from the probation department which could include recommendations for probation or conditional discharge. The department could also recommend jail time, but Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said the plea deal recommends no jail time.
A three-year order of protection was issued on behalf of the victim.
“We spent a lot of time with the victim and the family,” District Attorney Matt Van Houten said. “The victim believes that this is justice…She is wholeheartedly in support of this resolution.”
Van Houten would not comment about why the charges had been reduced from multiple felonies to a misdemeanor.
Ballinger did not have to confess to the crime in court because the charge is a misdemeanor. It remains unclear whether the severe allegations against him are true and Van Houten would not state whether the prosecution believed they were true.
Ballinger was represented by attorney Sarah Wessley.
He’s scheduled to be sentenced at 2 p.m. March 27 at the Tompkins County Courthouse.
Cornell University did not immediately state whether Ballinger would be eligible to be a student at the university again with the misdemeanor charge aginst him. He was previously suspended due to the allegations against him.
This is a developing story.