The state of Wisconsin Thursday granted a $200,000 cash bail for 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook, who has been formally charged with multiple counts of sexual assault.
He will remain in custody at the Dane County Jail until his next hearing where he will need to pay off the entire bail in order to be released.
If released, Cook will most likely stay at home in Minnesota with his family, one of his defense attorneys Jessa Nicholson said.
Cook on Thursday was formally charged with 15 counts — 14 felonies and one misdemeanor — spanning from second degree sexual assault to false imprisonment, according to the criminal complaint.
Alec Cook to face 30-count criminal complaint for sexual assault of four womenUniversity of Wisconsin senior Alec Cook is expected to face a 30-count criminal complaint for pending sexual assault cases against Read…
Cook now faces seven counts of second degree sexual assault, three counts of third degree sexual assault, one count of fourth degree sexual assault, two counts of strangulation and suffocation and two counts of false imprisonment.
Cook pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Within the criminal complaint, four women alleged to have been sexually assaulted — penetrated without their consent — by Cook.
One victim said she had been drugged and then sexually assaulted by Cook.
In the criminal complaint, the victim reported feeling “really, really tired” and “very, very sleepy,” and her vision become “very fuzzy” after Cook gave her what she believed to be either juice or water.
In the same report, the victim claimed to have consensually kissed Cook, but denied consenting to any further action.
Nicholson, however, argued all of the reports issued in the criminal complaint are consistent with someone who is engaging in consensual sex.
“When you read the complaint, what is consistent with all of the complainants is they describe his behavior after the fact where he is normal and conversational,” Nicholson said.
In the same vein, his other defense attorney Christopher Van Wagner said the conversations his client and the complainants had after the alleged incidents suggest no true crimes occurred.
Since Cook’s arrest, both of his defense attorneys said he has faced a “firestorm” and great amount of scrutiny from the media. In a Wednesday press release, Van Wagner said “the Internet has replaced the streets.”
The largest source of media scrutiny against their client, Van Wagner said, is the claim that Cook is a serial rapist who “grooms” and “stalks” his victims.
“These allegations have come as a result of the complete misstatement that there was a list in a stalking notebook about how he groomed his victims, and how there was a reference in a category to kill,” Van Wagner said.
The District Attorney’s Office, Van Wagner said, brought up the “kill” category with no evidence.
UW student arrested for sexual assaultThe Madison Police Department arrested a 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student Monday evening for multiple charges, one of which includes second degree Read…
— Alice Vagun (@a_vagoon) October 27, 2016
On the far right hand corner, the word “killed?” is faintly crossed out with a box next to it.
While Van Wagner said he can’t contend to the meaning, he doesn’t believe it’s a reference to stalking or killing anyone.
Instead, Van Wagner said the notebook is no different from a dating website like match.com, where people look for similar interests or commonalities.
“Alec’s parents have described him as having social awkwardness in the past, and he has described himself as feeling insecure [with women] at times,” Nicholson said. “[The notebook] was probably a way to bolster himself up and keep track of the relationships and where they were going.”
Moving forward, both of Cook’s defense attorneys have voiced concerns that their client’s presumption of innocence will be challenged once the case goes to trial.
With a great deal of media attention, Nicholson said she is concerned for Cook’s safety and mental health. Van Wagner added he checks up on Cook a few times a day to make sure he is doing alright.
“I understand that people are not interested in feeling sorry for my client,” Nicholson said. “But in a courtroom, he is presumed to be innocent and we are going to do whatever we can to protect the assumption of innocence.”
Cook’s next court date regarding bail and release has not been set yet.