A former University of Wisconsin student convicted of stalking and raping three women was sentenced to three years in prison.
Alec Cook, sentenced Thursday, June 21st, pled guilty in February to five felonies—three counts of third-degree sexual assault and instances of suffocation and strangulation. Cook was also charged with stalking.
FOX2NOW recounts how Cook was expected to be tried at least seven times before his case was moved outside Madison. The man allegedly victimized 11 women between 2015 and 2016.
Cook faced 10 years in prison over the sexual assault convictions alone. Fox says he could have been incarcerated for upward of 40 years.
Prosecutors were hoping to look the student predator away for 19 years but were overruled by Dane County Circuit Judge Stephen Ehlke. Ehlke, in his verdict, gave Cook credit for his clean criminal record and good behavior on bail. He also felt Cook’s guilty pleas spared his victims a trial.
Wisconsin’s attorney general, Brad Schimel, issued a statement expressing his office’s displeasure with the outcome.
“The Wisconsin Department of Justice is disappointed that Alec Cook did not receive the much longer sentence the prosecution team recommended, and we still believe that is what Alec Cook deserves,” said Schimel. “I am proud of the Madison Police Department and UW-Madison Police Department investigators, Dane County District Attorney’s victim services, and prosecutors from the Dane County DA’s Office and Wisconsin DOJ for their hard work and commitment to justice for these survivors.
“While those survivors wish that a longer prison sentence had been imposed, they stood strong,” Schimel continued. “At DOJ, we hope that the fact that Alec Cook stands convicted as a felony sex offender and is on his way to prison will give survivors good faith that there are people in the criminal justice system who stand ready to fight for justice for them.”
Judge Ehlke admitted at sentencing that he’d ‘struggled greatly’ with identifying the best possible outcome for all parties involved in the case. He eventually concluded that the most important thing was to provide Cook’s victims with the opportunity to speak.
Ehlke, writes WKOW, devoted significant time during the sentencing hearing to reading victims’ statements aloud.
One of the women assaulted by Cook wrote, “Part of me died in order to survive that night with him and that part of me will never grow back.” Another victim, stalked by Cook across the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s campus, said she scarcely cope walking with a strange man behind her.
“I’m different now,” she said, speaking through tears. “If there is a man who walks behind me, even in the daylight, I will hold my breath and pray he doesn’t touch me.”
In addition to a three-year prison term, Cook was sentenced to three years of probation and a further five years of extended supervision.
He’s banned from University of Wisconsin property for life.