Alec Cook sentenced to 3 years in prison for campus sex assaults

posted by WKOW - 

- A Dane County judge has sentenced Alec Cook to three years in prison, five years of extended supervision and three years of probation for a series of campus sexual assaults.

Judge Stephen Ehlke said during the sentencing hearing Thursday, "I have struggled greatly with what the right thing to do about this case is."

"The most important thing is the victims' voices be heard. What I want them to know, I listened to their voices very carefully. I want them to know I tried my level best in this case and every case that I have in front of me to be fair to everyone."

Judge Ehlke said he spent considerable time reading victim impact statements before coming to his decision. He became emotional while speaking directly to the victims in court.

One victim said in her impact statement, "Part of me died in order to survive that night with him and that part of me will never grow back." 

Judge Ehlke says what Cook did was "wrong, it was criminal. It should not have occurred and these women should not have had to bear what happened here. That is all crystal clear and undisputed here."

Cook did plead guilty to five felonies. Judge Ehlke says he was required to give him credit for no criminal record, no violations of bail and for sparing the victims of a trial. 

The judge was required to consider probation in this case but thought it would unduly depreciate the seriousness of the crimes. The judge could have sentenced Cook to up to 40 years in prison.

For more go to WKOW: http://www.wkow.com/story/38476703/2018/06/21/prosecutors-urge-nineteen-year-prison-sentence-for-campus-sex-offender-cook

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County prosecutors are urging a 19-year prison sentence for former UW-Madison student Alec Cook on Cook's five felony, campus sex-related crimes.

The 22-year-old Cook is free on $100,000 bail, and scheduled to be sentenced by Dane County Judge Steven Ehlke Thursday."He sexually assaulted women, he strangled and battered women, he stalked women and he tormented them as they went about their lives," wrote Assistant Dane County District Attorney Allison Cogbill and Assistant Attorney General Christopher Liegel in a sentencing memorandum. They also maintain Cook continues to try to explain away his criminal actions, and has failed to seek out psychiatric or psychological treatment.

Eleven campus women have accused Cook of sexual assault and other misdeeds. Cook's conviction on five charges came as a result of a February plea agreement.Some of the victims wrote letters to the court detailing lingering, emotional trauma, and asking that Cook be held accountable.

A woman identified as "Victim #1" uses capital letters to denounce Cook.

"ALEC COOK IS NOT SOCIALLY AWKWARD, HE IS A SELF-PROFESSED STALKER, A SEXUAL PREDATOR , AND A THREAT TO SOCIETY," she writes to Ehlke. "He would have killed me if he could, as he jotted down in his notebook," she writes.  Cook's diary-style notebooks were seized by Madison Police, but ruled inadmissible by Ehlke and another trial judge.

Prosecutors also say Cook blames the book The Game - Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, for introducing him to techniques to use with women, while ignoring the book's lack of advocacy for violent, sexual assault.In a letter to Ehlke from Cook's parents, Arne and Jessica Cook, apologies are offered to victims and their families.

"When you send your child off to college it is with the expectation that she will be healthy and happy and, above all, safe.  Because of our son that did not happen for your children," they write.

Cook's parents also ask for rehabilitation opportunities for Cook.

"With ongoing treatment, supervision and sobriety, we sincerely believe that Alec will never reoffend.  We have witnessed dramatic changes in our son - all for the better - since he was arrested," Cook's parents write.

In her letter, Victim #1 also makes accusations against a UW-Madison official. 

"An official at the University Wisconsin-Madison who was working to expel Cook jeopardized the case when he abused his position of power to collect confidential evidence from me," she writes, noting the evidence was later retrieved by police. "I was constantly betrayed by those who are supposed to help," she writes."We have no records or complaint reflecting the concerns identified in the victim impact statement,"  

UW-Madison spokesperson Carrie Springer says. "We are committed to an investigatory process that ensures victims receive all available support services and maintains victim privacy and confidentiality."

Victim #1's accusations of sexual assault against Cook led to his arrest in the fall of 2016.  Publicity around her case led other campus women to come forward with additional accusations.

When he's sentenced Thursday, the maximum sentence Cook could receive is 40 years in prison. 

For more on this story: http://www.wkow.com/story/38476703/2018/06/21/prosecutors-urge-nineteen-year-prison-sentence-for-campus-sex-offender-cook

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