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Suspended UB student cleared of rape charge

A suspended University at Buffalo student hopes to return to the classroom after being cleared of a rape charge in Oswego on Monday.

Fernando Pranckevicius, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree harassment, a violation which does not leave him with a criminal record.

Defense attorney Brian J. Hutchison said Pranckevicius, a Brazilian citizen who lives in Aventura, Fla., could have been deported if he had been convicted of a crime.

However, Hutchison said a DNA test showed Pranckevicius never had sex with the purported victim. Her boyfriend did, before Pranckevicius entered the room.

The attorney said he will file an appeal of a two-year UB suspension the UB Office of Student Affairs imposed on Pranckevicius in March.

UB spokesman John DellaContrada said he couldn't comment on the specific case, but in general a student in Pranckevicius' position would have to reapply to the university.

"According to university policy, we would allow a student to appeal previous decisions and present new information if it wasn't available at time of a student's initial hearing," he said.

The incident occurred about 3 a.m. Sept. 10 in an on-campus apartment at Oswego State College, after a long drinking party that drew about 40 people, Hutchison said. He said Pranckevicius was invited by a friend, who also was the boyfriend of the purported victim.

The lawyer said the intoxicated UB student jumped into the bed he had slept in the night before, not realizing the woman was already there. He landed atop her, there was a fracas and the boyfriend ended up shoving Pranckevicius off the woman, who also had been drinking.

Oswego police arrested Pranckevicius and charged him with two felonies, third-degree rape and second-degree burglary. The harassment violation required Pranckevicius to admit that he "annoyed and alarmed" the woman.

Hutchison said, "The district attorney has offered this plea because the testimonies of various witnesses were inconsistent. The DNA test results showed a negative match for my client and a positive match for her boyfriend."

Oswego Town Justice Stanley Jung gave the UB student a one-year conditional discharge, a $375 fine, and an order to perform 150 hours of community service and make a $2,500 donation to the Oswego County Child Advocacy Center.