In Madison, Wisconsin, a female student went to the police department on October 12 to file a complaint against a 20-year-old student named Alec Cook. She shared that she and Cook had gotten in touch by way of Facebook and then gotten together on four or five occasions following, but always in a public setting.
— City Pages (@citypages) October 26, 2016
On the last occasion the two were together, they studied at the University of Wisconsin library and then went to his apartment near the campus. He started kissing her, at first lightly and then forcefully. She shared that she asked him to stop several times and then he sexually assaulted her repeatedly. When she tried to leave, he initially refused to allow it.
Although Cook’s lawyer denies the incident in the manner the woman recalls, the news of the charges against Cook led to more victims of the assailant coming forward. Later that same week, another case of assault was reported against Cook. The victim shared that he assaulted her in February. After that report, there was a multitude of others, according to police reports. One such report involves a statement by an alleged victim of Cook stating that she felt empowered when others were telling authorities what he had done.
The Washington Post shares her words.
“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.”
By Tuesday of this week, dozens of women had come forward and wanted to speak about “acts related to Cook,” according to a police detective’s affidavit.
At learning of the news, the University acted promptly. Dean of Students Lori Berquam noted that Cook had been placed on emergency leave from the university “based on the severity of the allegations and the potential impact on the campus community.”
“This is a serious case and the university is responding,” she said.
If the allegations turn out to be factual, the case is the most serious ever at the University of Wisconsin, a university with over 43,000 students and prominence as a top rated state university in the nation. Colette Sampson, a Dane County prosecutor, said that Cook would be charged with 30 counts that include sexual assault, false imprisonment, and strangulation in connection with assaults on four women.
Police believe now that Cook has been sexually assaulting women for over a year, since March of 2015 and has been becoming progressively more aggressive with his victims. Sampson stated that when authorities searched the man’s apartment, they found a notebook that documented his “grooming and stalking techniques.”
— The Atlantic: News (@TheAtlNews) October 26, 2016
The notebook also reportedly included a list of women’s names. A police detective’s affidavit supporting the search warrant shares more details about the findings.
“‘Each entry showed how he met the female, and what he liked about them. Further entries went on to document what he wanted to do with the females. Disturbingly enough there were statements of ‘kill’ and statements of ‘sexual desires.'”
Since so many women have come forward, Cook has been met with many messages on Facebook addressed to him. The publication shares a number of the comments, mainly students from the university had for the accused.
“I remember feeling quietly afraid of you at that party. We never spoke or interacted, but seeing you walk back and forth, exerting your alpha male presence and mass from room to room made me stand a little closer to my boyfriend, willing you to go away.”
Another was shared by a woman clearly made fearful by such atrocities, if indeed true.
“You don’t know me. And from what has just surfaced, I am very glad that I don’t know you. I wrote this because I couldn’t sleep at night after I found out what you had done.”
Alec Cook has not been convicted and has reportedly denied allegations. The 20-year-old is being held at the Dane County Jail without bail awaiting a hearing on Thursday.
[Featured Image by Franck Prevel/Getty Images]