August 14, 2014

Trial for Former Cornell Student Accused of Rape Postponed

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By SOFIA HU

The trial of former Cornell student Peter Mesko ’13 — who is charged with raping another student in March 2013 — has been postponed with no new trial date set.

The former Cornell wrestler was scheduled to go to trial Monday, according to Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson. The legal proceedings, however, were postponed after a robbery case took longer than expected and used up time that was supposed to be allocated for the Mesko trial.

Mesko’s lawyers intend to argue that he had “diminished mental capacity” due to his intoxication at the time of the reported sexual assault, according to court documents. As a result, Mesko could not have formed the requisite intent for rape, burglary and sexual abuse, his lawyers contend.

His lawyers, Lauren S. Owens and William J. Dreyer, declined to comment on the case.

Mesko was arrested and charged with raping a female student last spring, The Sun previously reported. He pleaded not guilty in April 2013.

On March 30, 2013, the victim reportedly woke up at 4:45 a.m. in her girlfriend’s house and realized she was being raped by someone she did not recognize, according to police. She was able to fend off the attack with her girlfriend.

The University suspended Mesko during the criminal investigation. Prior to leaving the University, he was a senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and a varsity wrestler, The Sun reported. If convicted of rape, Mesko could face up to 25 years in prison.

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