University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook has been formally charged with 15 counts of multiple charges spanning from sexual assault to false imprisonment.
The 20-year-old student currently 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.
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…
Fourteen of the counts are felonies C, H or G charges, while one count is a misdemeanor A charge.
- If convicted of a Class C felony, Cook could be fined up to $100,000, be imprisoned for up to 40 years or both.
- If convicted of a Class G felony, Cook could be fined up to $25,000, be imprisoned for up to 10 years or both.
- If convicted of a Class H felony, Cook could be fined up $10,000, be imprisoned for up to 6 years or both.
At Cook’s bail hearing Oct. 27, his defense attorneys said there is nothing to support “the monster” that exists in the mind of people on the UW campus.
“For the last 10 days, you have been told that [Cook] is a serial rapist — that he is a monster,” defense attorney Christopher Van Wagner said. “[Nicholson and I] believe the contents of the criminal complaint ought to send you back to the people and tell them their fear is unfounded. There is no serial stalker or rapist.”
Within the complaint, however, all five women reported Cook engaged in either unsolicited, or nonconsensual sexual activity.
One victim said she repeatedly told Cook to “slow down” and “stop” once he became forceful with her. When investigators asked Cook about the same incident, he stated he felt uncomfortable talking about the incident.
“Deep down, I am sexually insecure. It was hard to open myself to her, and it is harder to open myself to you here now,” he told Madison Police Department Officer Alex Lewein Oct. 16.
Cook’s other defense attorney, Jessa Nicholson, said his parents have said he has dealt with social awkwardness in the past and at times, feels insecure with women.
Nicholson said Cook doesn’t desire to come off in a way that is intimidating or frightening.
“The media and the campus has embraced a culture of fear,” Nicholson said, “There’s been this urging to put my client’s face as the face of rape culture or campus assault. I think that’s inaccurate and unfair.”
Cook currently awaits possible release on a $200,000 bail. Until his next bail hearing, he remains in custody at Dane County Jail.
Timeline of the case
- March 20, 2015: The earliest sexual assault currently on record allegedly perpetuated by Cook. The victim came forward Oct. 21, 2016 and told detectives the incident was “one of the worst experiences of her life,” according to the criminal complaint.
- Jan. 1-May 31, 2016: Over the course of a spring semester ballroom class, one complainant reported Cook touched her inappropriately on her breasts and buttocks at least 15 to 20 times. Another female in the class called the Madison Police Department Oct. 19 to report “[Cook’s] presence made her uncomfortable.”
- Feb. 12-13, 2016: Before this date, one of Cook’s alleged victims had engaged in consensual sex with him. At the time of this alleged incident, however, she believes Cook drugged her, then sexually assaulted her.
- Aug. 28, 2016: One complainant reported Oct. 24 though she and Cook initially engaged in consensual sexual activity, he became increasingly rough, and she repeatedly told him “no” when he asked “Do you like that?”
- Oct. 12-13, 2016: The date the first victim reported being assaulted by Cook in his apartment for two-and-a-half hours, even though she had said “this is much too fast — please stop” before the alleged assault occurred.
- Oct. 16, 2016: Initial victim comes forward to Madison Police Department about alleged assault.
- Oct. 18, 2016: Cook is arrested on four counts of second degree sexual assault and additional tentative charges of strangulation, false imprisonment and three counts of battery.
- Oct. 20, 2016: Cook is released from custody on a $500 signature bond.
- Oct. 21, 2016: Cook turns himself in after second victim comes forward. The victim said she “felt empowered” to come forward after the initial victim shared her story.
- Oct. 21, 2016: A third victim comes forward against Cook. He is placed under emergency suspension by the university.
- Oct. 25, 2016: In a search of Cook’s apartment, investigators recovered several notebooks, one of which the District Attorney’s office alleged detailed “grooming” and “stalking” techniques against several women.
- Oct. 26, 2016: MPD confirmed a total of four victims have come forward against Cook. University of Wisconsin Police Department reported having one victim come forward against Cook, and their intent to refer 15 counts of misdemeanor fourth degree sexual assault charges to the District’s Attorney’s office. In a news release, Cook’s defense attorneys, Christopher Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson, said their client is facing “character assassination.”
- Oct. 27, 2016: Cook is granted a $200,000 bail from the state of Wisconsin. One page of his notebook, which had the word “killed?” written at the top right, was released to the public. Cook remains in custody at Dane County Jail, awaiting possible release at his next bail hearing.