Crime

Police questioned accused UW-Madison serial rapist in February for 'inappropriate behavior'

20-year-old faces 14 felony charges, 1 misdemeanor in multiple reported assaults

MADISON, Wis. - A UW student is facing 14 felony charges in connection with multiple sexual assaults over the course of at least 10 months, according to a document filed in Dane County court Thursday.

Alec R. Cook, 20, of Madison, was charged Thursday in connection with five reported sexual assaults since January.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department said Thursday that the department has had two previous contacts with Cook, once in October 2104 for an underage liquor citation.

The second contact was in February, UWPD spokesman Marc Lovicott said. A female student contacted police to report a student who was making her feel uncomfortable in College Library. She told police the student, whom police later identified as Cook, had been looking and smiling at her for months. She told police she confronted Cook and asked him to stop staring at her and leave her alone.

Shortly after the confrontation, Cook followed her out of the library, "making her feel afraid for her safety," Lovicott said. She called UWPD to report it two days later.

UWPD officers spoke to Cook on the evening it was reported, told him his behavior was inappropriate and ordered him not to make contact with or follow the woman anymore, Lovicott said. Police said he told the officer he understood and would stop.

It wasn't clear if the woman who reported Cook's behavior in February was one of the people who reported Cook sexually assaulted them. Five people, identified only by their initials in the criminal complaint, reported that Cook forced them into sexual contact including intercourse, oral sex and digital penetration. He also faces a strangulation charge and two false imprisonment charges in two of the incidents.

Cook was initially taken into custody last week, but more women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault after his arrest was first reported Oct. 18.

According to a search warrant filed Friday, police found a black leather book in Cook's apartment that had women's names inside and had documented them in a "very systematic way." The entries showed how Cook met the woman, what he liked about them and what he wanted to do with them, the search warrant said.

Police said in the search warrant that there were "statements of 'kill' and statements of 'sexual' desires" in the book.

Cook's lawyers, Christopher T. Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson, say he has been unfairly portrayed in the media and claim he is innocent of all charges. They said in a statement Wednesday that Cook is being put through a "modern-day character assassination."


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