Alec Cook, a 20-year-old University of Wisconsin student, was arrested last week and charged with sexual assault against a woman in his apartment in Madison on October 12. But since the initial charges against Cook were filed, new revelations indicate that Cook’s alleged activities as a sexual predator may be far more extensive and disturbing than police first believed.
Cook appeared in court on October 27, where his lawyers argued that all of the sexual encounters in question were consensual — even adding that in one case, an alleged victim faked an orgasm.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. His Initial Alleged Victim Says He Held Her in ‘a Death Grip’
Cook, a junior at the university who is also a graduate of Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota, was first charged last week after a 20-year-old woman said that after she and Cook had studied together in the school library then went back to Cook’s apartment at about 11:30 p.m., according to a report by KSTP TV in Minneapolis.
Shortly after they got back to his place, she says, he violenty attacked her.
In her complaint against Cook, she told cops that even though she prefaced their make-out session by informing Cook that she was not interested in a casual sexual encounter, and that he assured her, “We won’t do anything you don’t feel comfortable with,” he quickly became “forceful.”
She alleges that Cook pinned her to the bed even after she told him to stop, and then raped her for a period of about two-and-half hours. She also said that Cook slapped her and choked her until she almost passed out and that she was unable to escape because he held her “in a death grip.”
The woman also told police that she didn’t fight back against Cook because he was simply too strong for her, so she “accepted my fate and gave up a little bit.”
Cook told police when he was arrested that the sexual encounter was consensual. He acknowledged pulling the victim’s hair, but said he did not remember choking her, according to a CNN report.
2. Three More Women Have Since Come Forward, Accusing Cook
Cook was charged and released last Wednesday, October 19, but turned himself back in the following day after another woman, also 20, accused him of a separate sexual assault in an incident that took place last year. That woman told police that after she dated Cook briefly, he slipped her a drug-spiked drink that left her incapacitated, and he then sexually assaulted her.
“She told a detective ‘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,’” Madison Police Spokesperson Joel DeSpain told The Wisconsin State Journal.
But the charges against Cook were only just getting started. As the student was sitting in jail over the weekend, another two women approached police with their own accounts of attacks by Cook. As a result, Cook was set to be charged on Tuesday with numerous counts of felony and misdemeanor sexual assault and related charges including false imprisonment. His hearing was postponed until Thursday for administrative reasons, however.
3. He Kept Notebooks Detailing What He Planned to Do to His Victims, Say Cops
Prosectors said this week that investigators executing a search warrant found several notebooks kept by Cook in which he listed his potential victims.
In fact, the cops found more than 20 notebooks that they believe were kept by Cook, in which he identified potential victims and, shockingly, wrote in detail about how he planned to groom or stalk them — and even added a column in which he wrote exactly what he planned or at least desired to do to each woman in the notebook.
“The entries went on to document what he wanted to do with the females,” investigator Grant Humerickhouse said, according to The Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Disturbingly enough, there were statements of ‘kill’ and statements of ‘sexual’ desires.”
4. He Said That he is Not Guilty in Court on October 27
Cook appeared in Dade County court on Thursday morning, and according to a running account by Alice Vagun of the Badger Herald student newspaper, his lawyers not only told the court that Cook is not guilty, but that all of the allegation of sexual assault against him involve encounters that were consensual.
“Everything the complainants have described are consistent with consensual sex,” defense attorney Jessa Nicholson said.
Cook’s lawyer Christopher Van Wagner scoffed at the idea that reactions of the alleged victims after the encounters were those expected of sex assault victims.
“Do you say ‘LMAO’ to a rapist who just assaulted you?” he asked the court, according to Vagun’s account.
“There is a climate that suggests people who step forward as victims must be believed,” Nicholson said. “That is inconsistent with the assumption of innocence.”
Nicholson told the court that one of the women accusing Cook faked an orgasm in order to put an end to the sexual encounter, and that orgasm is an indication of a consensual encounter, Vagun reported.
The lawyers said that Cook was “insecure” around the women, and that they are now worried abut his physical safety and mental health.
Van Wagner also disputed the police account saying that Cook had written the word “kill” next to a woman’s name in one of his notebooks.
5. Both the School and Cook’s Fraternity Have Apparently Suspended Him
Cook is a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, but according to The Daily Beast, the frat says that it has “separated” from the accused sexual predator, though what that means wasn’t completely clear.
The university has suspended him, however, and Cook’s attorney in arguing for his release on just a signature bond said that he would return to Minnesota where he would live with his parents. Prosecutors ares seeking $250,000 bail.
The charges so far against Cook are set to include 11 counts of felony sexual assault and at least 15 misdemeanor sexual assault counts — along with two counts of false imprisonment and one of “strangulation.”
Cook’s many alleged assaults appear to have started in 2015 and he became more and more “aggressive” as he continued his crimes, prosecutors said. He started off with misdemeanor assaults, which included groping women in a dance class he was taking at the time, the prosecutors explained.