CRIME

University Of Wisconsin Student Accused Of Multiple Sexual Assaults

Dozens of women have come forward about business student Alec Cook since his arrest last week.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison student faces charges in a series of sexual assaults that began last year, authorities said.

Alec Cook, a 20-year-old junior majoring in business, was expected to be formally charged on Thursday with 34 counts, including sexual assault, strangulation, battery and false imprisonment, according to WISC-TV. He was jailed awaiting his court appearance.

Police said they found notebooks in Cook’s apartment in which he wrote about grooming and stalking his victims and his sexual desires.

Police arrested Cook last week, after a 20-year-old fellow student said he tried to strangle her and raped her during hours of captivity in his home. 

Alec Cook is pictured in this undated booking photo. Madison Police Department/Handout via Reuter
Alec Cook is pictured in this undated booking photo. Madison Police Department/Handout via Reuter

He was re-arrested on suspicion of other crimes after three more women, who heard about his arrest, accused him of separate assaults. 

One student alleged that he inappropriately touched her in class on 15 occasions during the Spring 2016 term, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison police. Another student said she was assaulted in a downtown Madison apartment in February.

“I saw the news story and was empowered by another girl being able to tell what happened to her, that I thought I could now finally tell,” police said the woman told investigators.

More charges may follow. A Madison police affidavit obtained by TV station WKOW says “dozens of females” have come forward.

At least one of the 20 notebooks that police seized includes names of women, details Cook liked about them, and how he first encountered them, according to authorities. Notes also include descriptions of sexual fantasies and a column with a heading of “kill.”  

Cook is cooperating with investigators, his attorney told the Star Tribune.

“Much of what has been on Facebook has been character assassination of my client,” attorney Christopher Van Wagner complained.

Cook has been suspended from the university, one of the country’s top public institutions. 

“Sexual violence is unacceptable in our campus and community,” Lori Berquam, dean of students, said in a statement that also discussed campus resources available to victims of sexual attacks. “This is a serious case and the university is responding.”

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