Students Plead Innocent to Sexual Abuse
Editor's note: The two students named in this article were later cleared of the sexual abuse charges against them.
Two members of a Cornell fraternity accused of committing first degree sexual abuse at a Valentine's party have pleaded not guilty, and will appear before a grand jury later this month.
The charges against fraternity members of sexual abuse and of serving alcohol to minors have led to questioning of the Greek system and to vandalism against the fraternity involved, Cornell students and administrators said this week.
The students accused of sexual assault, sophomore David W. Krumsiek and junior Patrick J. Flanagan, both members of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, will appear before the grand jury little more than a month after their alleged sexual abuse of two Brown University women at a Valentine's Day semiformal.
The charge of first degree sexual abuse is a felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to seven years. The state of New York defines sexual abuse as forcing someone into sexual contact by compulsion, or by making advances when the victim is incapable of consent because of physical helplessness.
In addition to legal problems the two accused men face, they could also face expulsion if Cornell administrators find that they have violated any portion of the university's code of conduct.
Krumsiek signed a statement in which he admitted to having had sexual intercourse with one of the Brown women the night of the party but stated that she had made the initial advances and that the intercourse was voluntary.
But the woman Krumsiek is accused of abusing told The Cornell Daily Sun that in fact the intercourse was not voluntary. The litigants both agree that both of them were intoxicated at the time of the incident.
The second Brown woman has alleged that at the same party, Flanagan, another Phi Gamma Delta member, forced her into sexual acts that she repeatedly attempted to discourage.
The Phi Gamma Delta fraternity--commonly called Fiji--has sent a letter to The Cornell Daily Sun stating that members would refuse all comment on the matter, a reporter for the Daily Sun said this week.
Friends Don't Let Friends...
In a related incident, two other Phi Gamma Delta fraternity members were charged with serving alcohol to the two underage students who have claimed Krumsiek and Flanagan abused them.
Seniors Raymond B. Floyd and Andrew C. Heckler told public safety officers that they had that night served alcoholic beverages to the women accusing Krumsiek and Flanagan, according to the Daily Sun. But the two pleaded innocent in city court last week, the newspaper reported.
Officials have refused to release the names of the women.
In epitaphs precipitated by the allegations, phrases such as "no rape," "rapists beware," and "rapists live here" were spray-painted on the fraternity's main entrance and on 19 cars parked nearby, said David Stuart, spokesman for the Cornell News Office.
The recent incident has led to "heightened awareness on campus" and caused more discussion about sexual harassment, said Glenn W. Muscosky, a member of the Greek Task Force (GTF). Cornell created the task force last October in order to deal with the issue of sexual harassment and abuse on campus.
Thirty-eight percent of man and 30 percent of women at Cornell participate in Greek life.