Sorority-house fire leads to arson charge

A Geneseo student and Greek-community leader was arrested and charged with arson in connection with a fire at a sorority house over the summer.

Delta Kappa Tau (DK) Vice President Blaine Gallson, a senior, turned himself in to the Geneseo Police Department on Dec. 18 after being notified of an arrest warrant for the individual that started a fire in the Alpha Kappa Phi (AGO) sorority house at 26 Wadsworth St. on July 8.

Gallson was charged with second-degree arson, a felony. There were people inside the house at the time the fire started, but the Geneseo Fire Department was quickly notified and no one was injured, police said.

He was arraigned last month in front of Geneseo Town Justice David Haskins and sent to the Livingston County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail. He is currently out on bail, and declined to comment.

County District Attorney Tom Moran, who could not be reached for comment, will present the case, which is pending trial, to a grand jury on behalf of Livingston County.

Police are currently unable to discuss specifics of the investigation, which was held in conjunction with Livingston County's Emergency Management Office and the Rochester division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

According to police, Gallson also faces separate charges of second-degree burglary, fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment for entering the same Alpha Kappa Phi house on Dec. 13. He allegedly broke a window, fought with residents and was subsequently arrested. For this incident, Gallson was released after posting bail of $2,500. Gallson also has an unrelated DWI arrest pending in Geneseo Village Court.

Gallson's lawyer, Norm Effman, denied the charges.

"He is not guilty of these charges, we will defend him vigorously, and we are anxious to see what if any proof the prosecution has regarding the pending charges," he said.

Delta Kappa Tau President Evan Rantzaklis, members of Alpha Kappa Phi and Dean of Students Leonard Sancilio were contacted but declined to comment.