Former UW-Madison student Cook pleads guilty

 Alec Cook, the former UW student accused of sexually assaulting multiple women, pleaded guilty today to five of those charges, avoiding an upcoming jury trial.

The five charges have a maximum combined sentence of 39-1/2 years and a fine of $95,000. Judge Stephan Ehlke accepted the pleas and found Cook guilty of the five charges.

The charges included three of third-degree sexual assault, each carrying the possibility of a maximum ten year sentence.

Cook also pleaded guilty to a strangulation/suffocation charge which carries a sentence of six years and a stalking charge which carries a sentence of three years, six months.

The remaining counts were dismissed and read in as part of the plea deal.

Cook was charged with victimizing more than ten women and originally faced more than 20 charges involving sex assault, stalking, false imprisonment and other actions.

Prosecutors say Cook preyed on campus women whom he dated briefly, shared a class with, or who were complete strangers.

Cook was to stand trial on the first of his charges later this month, with the trial moved to Jefferson County due to pre-trial publicity.

Nicholson Goetz says she anticipates the Minnesota man will be sentenced approximately 90 days after entering his pleas Wednesday.  Cook is free on $100,000 bail and is living with his parents in a Minneapolis suburb.

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