ITHACA, N.Y. (AP) — A Cornell University wrestler accused of raping another student as she slept was arrested after the victim’s companion snapped pictures of the young man lying on the bed, pants partway down, and then looked his name up on the athletic department website, police say.
Peter Mesko, 22, of Honesdale, Pa., was charged Tuesday with first-degree rape in an attack police said took place off campus early Saturday. The Ivy Leaguer was freed on $5,000 bail.
The Ithaca Journal reported (http://ithacajr.nl/11reBpb) that court papers said the two women were asleep in a bedroom 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 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.
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.
“The arrest this week of a Cornell student charged with raping a fellow student has shocked our community,” Cornell Dean of Students Kent Hubbell said in a statement posted on the university website.
He said a new website has been set up to provide support for victims of sexual violence as well as those troubled by the reported rape.