Over the last two weeks, the campus of the University of Wisconsin, one of the most prestigious state schools in the U.S., has been rocked by a disturbing investigation into a litany of alleged assaults by a lone perpetrator. Dozens of women have come forward accusing their fellow student, 20-year-old Alec Cook, of varying degrees of assault, several of them sexual in nature. The first accusation came on October 12, when a female student went to police in Madison, Wisc., with her account of what Cook allegedly put her through. According to reports, Cook had initially contacted the woman over Facebook and the two agreed to meet. They hung out several times in public places, then decided to study together in the school library. Following the study session, she accompanied him back to his apartment where she said he began kissing her. His kissing quickly became aggressive and she insisted on stopping, according to reports. Instead though, the woman alleged, Cook refused to let her leave and proceeded to repeatedly sexually assault her. After word got out about the woman’s allegations, officials were deluged with other female students making similar accusations against Cook.
Lori Berquam, the school’s dean of students, issued a statement that Cook had been placed on emergency leave “based on the severity of the allegations and the potential impact on the campus community,” adding, “This is a serious case and the university is responding.” As the investigation was launched, police made a chilling find in his apartment: a notebook that Collette Sampson, the Dane County prosecutor handling the case, described as being a guide on “grooming and stalking techniques.” The book contained notes on his apparent victims as well. According to local TV station WKOW, which viewed a police affidavit, it listed a number of women’s names. “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,” the station reported. “Disturbingly enough there were statements of ‘kill’ and statements of ‘sexual desires.”
Sampson said Cook will be charged with at least 30 counts, some of them felony sexual assault, and others strangulation and false imprisonment in connection with allegations made by four women. While Cook’s day in court may still be far off, the court of public opinion, including women who say they were violated by him, has been making itself heard loud and clear on his Facebook page. Watch more on the case in the video below.
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Read the full story at The Washington Post.