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Cornell wrestler charged with rape

Image: Peter Mesko (© Ithica Police/AP)
Peter Mesko, 22, has been charged with first-degree rape.
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ITHACA, N.Y. (AP)

A Cornell University wrestler accused of raping a woman as she slept was arrested after a friend of the victim snapped pictures of him lying on the bed, pants partway down, and then looked him up on the Ivy League school's athletic department website, police say.

Peter Mesko, 22, of Honesdale, Pa., was charged Tuesday with first-degree rape. He was freed on $5,000 bail for a court appearance Friday.

The Ithaca Journal reported that court papers said the two women were sleeping early Saturday when one awoke to find a stranger on top of her, raping her. The women shoved him off and ran from the room.

Investigators said the victim's partner went back to the bedroom and took two pictures of the man, which the women later used to identify Mesko by going online.

According to the Cornell website, Mesko is a junior in the school of agriculture. Last year, the wrestler took third place in a New York State intercollegiate tournament.

Police said they did not know if he had a lawyer. His phone number was unlisted, and a call to his parents' home on Thursday went unanswered.

Police Officer Jamie Williamson said the assault took place off campus. He declined to say whether the alleged victim was a Cornell student.

The court document describes the women as partners and gave the following account:

The two women had gone out for drinks Friday night, and the alleged victim told police she had had two beers, a shot of tequila and a whiskey and Coke. Early Saturday, they went to her partner's bedroom and fell asleep.

The partner was awakened around 1:30 a.m. by the noise of her housemates and their friends playing drinking games outside her room. She noticed some Cornell wrestlers among them when she went out to ask them to quiet down.

The alleged victim said she woke up at 4:45 a.m. to find a stranger raping her, and her cries awoke her partner. The partner said she recognized the man as a wrestler but didn't know his name.

After the partner photographed the man's face, the women dashed from the building. The alleged victim went to an emergency room to have a rape exam done, then contacted police.

University officials had no comment.


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