Jason Ben Nathan / Sun Staff Photographer

The former Psi Upsilon fraternity house, located at 2 Forest Park Ln. on West Campus.

February 6, 2016

Psi Upsilon President Pleads Not Guilty to Sexual Assault Charges

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Wolfgang Ballinger ’17, president of Cornell’s Psi Upsilon fraternity, is pleading not guilty to charges of attempted sexual assault, according to James Baker, Ballinger’s attorney.

“His innocence will be established at the proper time and in the proper place — which is in the courts, not in the media,” Baker said in a statement.

Police have charged Ballinger with first-degree attempted rape, first-degree criminal sexual act and first-degree sexual abuse in connection with an incident which occurred at the fraternity last Sunday morning.

In a crime alert, the Cornell University Police Department said a female student reported that she was led to a bedroom in the Psi Upsilon fraternity house and sexually assaulted at approximately 2 a.m. last Sunday.

Investigators identified Ballinger Friday night, with the victim’s assistance, and he turned himself in to CUPD Friday, according to a police statement.

Ballinger allegedly attempted to have sexual intercourse with the student, forced her to have oral sex and sexually violated her with his hands. The student repeatedly refused by saying “I don’t want to” and “I’m too intoxicated,” according to court documents.


Ballinger ’17

Ballinger is charged with one Class D and two Class B felonies. He was remanded to the Tompkins County Jail and will receive a preliminary hearing Feb. 9 at the Ithaca City Court, according to The Ithaca Journal.

The University placed Psi Upsilon on interim suspension Monday, following the sexual assault allegations.

Psi Upsilon Executive Director Thomas Fox said in a statement that the fraternity’s values do not support sexual assault.

“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.”

President Elizabeth Garrett also released a statement saying she was “deeply disturbed” by Ballinger’s alleged actions.

“Sexual violence has no place at Cornell, and if these allegations are substantiated, those involved will be held accountable,” Garrett said. “Although I applaud the swift actions of the Interfraternity Council to mandate additional training for its members, we will be considering what additional steps should be taken to ensure the Greek community at Cornell is living up to our institutional standard of excellence and respect for others.”