July 14, 2016

Ballinger ’17 Indicted for First-Degree Sexual Abuse

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Former Cornell student Wolfgang Ballinger ’17 — who stands accused of sexually assaulting a female student at the Psi Upsilon fraternity in the early hours of January 31— was indicted on a charge of first-degree sexual abuse Thursday morning.

The indictment states that Ballinger “subjected another person to sexual contact by forcible compulsion,” according to The Ithaca Voice.

Ballinger allegedly attempted to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim, forced her to have oral sex and sexually violated her with his fingers, according to court documents previously released. The student reported that she repeatedly refused these advances, saying “I don’t want to” and “I’m too intoxicated,” the documents said.

In January, Ballinger — a junior in the School of Hotel Administration and Psi Upsilon’s president — was accused of first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse, The Sun previously reported. This indictment does not address the other charges.

In May, Ballinger filed a civil suit accusing the University of a ‘“flawed” investigation of sexual assault cases, arguing that Cornell’s investigations do not comply with state guidelines, specifically violating New York State Education Law. This law’s mandates include that a defendant be able to testify and present evidence at a hearing.

The University is currently revising its handling of sexual assault allegations and will adopt a new system beginning August 31, according to court documents. In early May, a second student, identified only as “John Doe,” also filed a suit against the University, alleging unlawful conduct in a sexual assault case.

A temporary restraining order, which the Tompkins County Supreme Court granted Ballinger in May, prevented Cornell from adjudicating his claims until June 30, when the court was expected to review his petition, The Sun previously reported.

  • Nah

    ….who the hell says “I’m too intoxicated” when they’re drunk.

    • gr

      exactly what I thought lol

    • Chill

      If you read the actual court document she just says she’s drunk

  • This will be tough to prove

    If she was, “too intoxicated”, “too drunk”…”too whatever”, to even say “no”, how can she possibly recall anything that happened with any accuracy whatsoever!?

    • So sick of this

      …so whatever happened to her must be ok if she can’t possibly remember.

      • Tough sell

        You need to see the big picture here. Not exactly. But in the United States, you’re innocent until proven guilty.

        If Wolfgang gets convicted, it will put the cherry on top of his already highly damaged life and reputation. Can that really happen based on the word and memory of a girl who was so intoxicated she lost control of her physical strength and to say no effectively? Obviously when someone is so drunk to the point they lose their basic physical function, their memory is also highly impaired.

        It doesn’t make it ok, but can you really give Wolfgang the penalty of rapist, sexual predator, etc based on the non-refutable proof, word, and memory of a girl who was admittedly, “too intoxicated” to say no? Seriously, how can she really say with confidence and give specific detail with confidence enough to prove his guilt when she’s that drunk?! It’s going to be a hard sell to the Jury, given the strong penalty he is up against.

        However, like what happened in Stanford, this again is a classic case of a girl voluntarily drinking much more than her physical limits and wondering why she gets taken advantage of. Does mean it’s right? No. But when you walk into a fire you’re going to get burned. When a girl drinks so much she loses physical function and ability to say no, it opens the door up wider than ever for a guy to take advantage of her. Girls, don’t let it get to that point! Nothing ever good happens when you can no longer say no due to alcohol. If she was being forced to drink, she would have said that by now. She voluntarily got drunk and wasn’t forced to.

        • This is ridiculous

          She wasn’t too intoxicated to say no, she told him “I don’t want to,” and clearly she wasn’t so drunk she didn’t know what had happened. She was probably just aware she had been drinking. If she had no idea what happened to her the DA would have never taken the case. I know I’ve told guys before that I was too drunk if they’re being a little pushy, even if I’m fine. Anything to stay safe, and that usually works. Also drinking isn’t the issue here, it’s sexual abuse. Blame the assailant for attacking the girl, not the girl for being more susceptible to it. And if the only proof in the case is what the girl said, he won’t be convicted. They need more physical evidence than that “beyond a reasonable doubt.” She wasn’t forced to drink but she might have been forced into sexual acts. Please think before you say things that blame victims. It can be damaging and painful to read for any victim of a similar crime.

          • Answers…?

            Regardless, male or female, it seems like the majority of these things happen when alcohol is used. It’s the main perpetrator. Alcohol opens the flood gates for these things to happen. Males get more pushy when they drink, women are more susceptible to this stuff when they drink. The answer is people shouldn’t drink to the point where they’re in a position where they do something that has consequences they’re not going to want to deal with when they’re sober. These are Cornell students. They have pretty decent lives l, it really isn’t worth it.

          • Missing the point.

            Drinking is 100% the issue…this stuff always happens with drinking on a college campus. There are exceptions when people are held at gun point or are sober, but drinking causes this for the most part

        • Gotta be kidding me

          Are you seriously using victim blaming as your rationalization? WOW.

          • No, are you kidding me.?

            If you think Wolfgang bares complete 100% responsiblity in this situation, that’s an issue. It’s about being responsible and not blaming. If you think she bares 0 responsibility as an adult that’s an issue. Life would be really bad if we just took 0 responsibility in our lives and blamed everything on everyone else and took no personal responsibility.

          • shush

            So she is supposed to take responsibility for his inability to control himself due to his grossly inflated sense of entitlement? From a guy who is not disgusting, from someone who is a normal and respectable male, it takes way less than a girl saying “I don’t want to” for me to understand when a person is uncomfortable and stop. Him forcing himself onto her against her will is unacceptable regardless of the quantity of alcohol that was consumed by either of them.

        • Miransky

          “But when you walk into a fire you’re going to get burned.”

          But if someone set the fire, that person may be charged with arson.

          • Point

            If no one forced her to drink, then no one set the fire. If she drank on her own, she walked into the fire. There’s no way u put all responsibility on Wolfgang. Unless she was held at gunpoint and told drink, she is partly responsible for consuming too much to get herself into this situation.

  • Are you kidding me?

    She was way more drunk than “just aware” she was drinking. She said she was “too intoxicated”!!!!

    • Seriously?

      Too intoxicated to have sex with someone can come way before blacking out or memory impairment. Don’t make assumptions about how drunk she was when you have know way of knowing the actual details of the incident.

  • B L

    I drank like a fish when in a frat years ago.
    Never once did anything stupid that I should be ashamed about (guy here) other than the act of drinking excessively itself. People’s true uninhibited personality comes out when drinking. A drunk rapist was always a rapist, just needed the alcohol to free inhibitions. People need to be locked upnfor this, period. Doesn’t matter how much alcohol was involved.
    Do they make excuses for a drunk driver when he kills someone ?