Former University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook pleaded guilty to five felonies at a court proceeding Monday, including three counts of third-degree sexual assault, one count of stalking and one count of strangulation and suffocation.
Cook’s attorneys announced his intention to plead guilty to five unnamed charges Monday. The five counts Cook will ultimately face sentencing for were revealed in the court proceeding Wednesday.
Dane County judge Stephen Ehlke presided over the proceeding as Cook pled guilty to one count of strangulation and suffocation, one count of stalking and three counts of third-degree sexual assault. After he pled guilty to the five charges, Ehlke informed Cook of the maximum legal punishments he could face for each count.
Cook pleads guilty to five of 21 outstanding charges, now awaits sentencing hearingIn a plea deal reached Monday, lawyers for former University of Wisconsin student Alec Cook said he will plead guilty Read…
For each of the three counts of third-degree sexual assault, a Class G felony, Cook could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and/or a fine of $25,000. The counts Cook pled guilty to correspond to three separate victims and three separate encounters over a 20 month period from March 2015 to October 2016.
According to a police report from one incident on Feb. 12, 2016, the victim told Cook numerous times she did not want to engage in sexual intercourse.
“[The victim] knows that she told Cook ‘No’ that she wasn’t going to have sex with him prior to finding herself on top of him and definitely numerous times over the course of the relationship,” the report said.
For the stalking charge, a Class I felony, Cook could face at most a $10,000 fine and/or three years and six months in prison. Cook pled guilty to stalking incidents which occurred over a period of months from Sept. 2015 to Feb. 2016.
According to a police report about the incident, Cook would stare at the victim while she studied late at night at College Library and follow her home — even after she, her friends and the police told him to stop.
“[The victim]… told her parents that she was experiencing anxiety due to the defendant’s actions and was actually gaining weight because she would go to the snack shop to get away from him,” the report said. “She also said she had nightmares about him following her and had problems sleeping, thinking about his behavior in the library.”
The strangulation and suffocation charge, a Class H felony, could land Cook six years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000. The incident which Cook pled guilty to occurred Aug. 28, 2016.
According to a police report, Cook choked the woman multiple times after she removed his hands and asked him not to.
“[The victim] said [Cook] began pressing on the front of her throat with his hand, which [the victim] found uncomfortable,” the report said. “She said this happened four times of which she is certain, two of those times it was difficult to breathe.”
Cook reportedly responded defensively when the victim pushed him off of her, and the victim said he forced her to engage in sexual activities later that night.
In total, the five counts Cook pled guilty to could result in a maximum of 39 years and six months in prison and a fine of $95,000. He will face a sentencing hearing at an unspecified date later this year.
Cook’s decision to enter into a plea deal means the seven trials which were set to be held against him later this year have been dissolved and the remaining 16 charges against him have been dropped.
Some of the charges which were dropped include second-degree sexual assault, false imprisonment, disorderly conduct and fourth-degree sexual assault.
As a part of the plea deal, Cook will be forced to register as a sex offender. Additionally, the judge will face no restrictions outside of preexisting legal limits on how he ultimately decides to sentence Cook.
Before his sentencing hearing, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections will conduct a pre-sentencing investigation of the counts Cook pled guilty to. Cook’s attorneys requested the investigation not result in a recommendation for sentencing. The prosecuting attorneys did not object, and Ehlke accepted the request.