A University of Wisconsin-Madison student accused of sexually assaulting a number of women was charged on 15 accounts Thursday. The charges against Alec Cook are in relation to the sexual assault of five of the dozens of women who came forward.
Cook of Edina, Minnesota, is now facing seven counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of strangulation, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault, CBS News reported.
The 20-year-old appeared in Dane County Circuit Court for a bail hearing, which was set at a $200,000 cash bond by the judge. A no contest plea was reportedly entered.
Police arrested Cook last week after a 20-year-old fellow student said that he raped her and also attempted to strangle her while holding her captive at his house for hours. Cook was re-arrested on suspicion of other crimes after more women accused him of separate instances of assaults after hearing of his earlier arrest. He has been in the Dane County Jail since last Friday.
Investigating authorities found a black leather notebook at his apartment that detailed names of “a series” of women — including mentions of stalking his victims and references to killing and sexual desires.
Cook’s attorneys — Chris Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson Goetz — have denied the allegations and maintain that the sexual activity was consensual.
“Our client has been essentially slaughtered by the social media image of him,” Van Wagner said at a press conference. “He’s been painted as the face of evil in Madison, and now across the entire nation, across the globe. That's wrong.”
His lawyers said that Cook has been described as socially awkward in the past and he also told police he felt uncomfortable describing his sexual activity.
“He takes this very seriously,” Goetz told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’s absolutely devastated to learn women felt pressured or unsafe in his presence. He doesn't desire to come off in a way that is intimidating or frightening.”
Cook, who was majoring in business at the school, has been suspended from the university and banned from the Madison campus.