On Thursday, 20-year-old Alec Cook was charged with 15 counts of sexual assault involving five different women over the last 18 months, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Charges include strangulation-suffocation, false imprisonment, third-degree sexual assault, and three counts of second-degree sexual assault.
Cook was first charged on Oct. 19, for allegedly raping a student, whom he had only met two weeks earlier, for over two hours in his apartment on Oct. 12. According to court records, he not only ignored the victim's pleas for him to stop, but also slapped her in the face and choked her until her vision got blurry. Cook told police during questioning that he didn't even remember choking the woman. "Sometimes I get lost in the heat of the moment," he said. "I don't remember." Telling police he was uncomfortable with sexual activity, Cook said, "Deep down I am sexually insecure."
Another woman claimed that Cook brought her a drink she didn't ask for while they were watching a movie at his apartment. After she drank it, she started to feel "fuzzy and so very, very sleepy," before he sexually assaulted her.
The fifth woman to accuse Cook of sexual assault said he repeatedly kissed her roughly and choked her. Grabbing her by the hair, Cook forced the woman to have oral sex, and also slapped her repeatedly while asking if she liked it. When she told him "no," he kept hitting her and was "going insane," hitting her on the back and legs too.
Police reportedly found a black leather notebook in Cook's nightstand drawer that police say was a diary of Cook's "stalking and grooming." Cook's lawyers, though, claim that the notebook is simply "a way to try to keep track of how his social interactions are going," according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. But the Washington Post reports that the notebook includes "a series of women's names," along with how he met them, what he liked about them, and what he wanted to do with them. "Disturbingly enough there were statements of 'kill' and statements of 'sexual desires,'" according to an affidavit.
Before being suspended, Cook was a business major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. NBC News described Cook as "a guitar-loving high school rugby player." In high school in Minnesota, Cook said his main influences were "the Christian God, number one. And then probably Satan as number two because without Satan, God would have nothing to do." Noting his love of musicians Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, Cook said, "Jimi and God are interchangeable." Regarding the current charges, Cook's lawyers claim, "Our client has been essentially slaughtered by the social media image of him."
Students at UW-Madison are concerned about the charges. Jason Klein of the Associated Students of Madison told the Guardian, "This story is horrifying. It's certainly spurred conversation on campus." Sexual assault, Klein said, "is an issue that has certainly marred our campus climate."
The University of Wisconsin-Madison was already being investigated by the Department of Education's office of civil rights for the way it handled four separate cases of sexual violence, according to the Guardian. Only one university has more cases pending under Title IX: Cornell University has five; Columbia, Stanford, Saint Mary's College of Maryland, and Kansas State, along with UW-Madison, have four cases. While the national average is around 25 percent, 27.6 percent of female undergraduates at UW-Madison reported experienced sexual assault.
Cook is being held at Dane County Jail in Wisconsin on $200,000 bail.