MADISON, Wis - Former University of Wisconsin-Madison student Alec Cook, 22, was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison, followed by 8 years of extended supervision and 15 years on the sex offender registry.
In February, he pleaded guilty to five of the 23 charges against him, including three counts of third-degree sexual assault, one count of strangulation and one count of stalking.
Eleven female UW Madison students came forward to tell their stories of assault. During the sentencing hearing on Thursday, the judge heard from two victims and the mother of a victim.
"In less than 24 hours my body became a crime scene and my life changed forever," Jaime Sathasivam, director of client programming at the Rape Crisis Center, read from a victim's statement. "Part of me died in order to survive that night with him."
The second victim to address the judge described her PTSD symptoms and the fear she had when she would see Cook on the UW Madison campus.
Judge Stephen Ehlke said he wanted all the victims to know he listened to their stories carefully and he tried his best to be fair, but he knew some would not be happy with his decision.
"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 Attorney General Brad Schimel in a press release. "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 faith that there are people in the criminal justice system who stand ready to fight for justice for them.”
The state asked for a sentence of 19 and a half years in prison, while the defense argued a longer prison sentence often increases a offender's risk of recidivism. The defense recommended eight years of probation.
Psychologist Dr. William Merrick testified on behalf of the defense. After evaluating Cook for hours, he concluded he has four disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder, hallucinogen and cannabis use disorder, and sexual sadism disorder.
Merrick said there is a "low moderate to medium risk" Cook would reoffend, but he needs extensive private treatment for his personality disorder and then for his sexual disorder.
“I think it would be next to impossible to get the kind of treatment he needs in prison,” said Merrick.
When questioned, Merrick said when he met Cook, he did not show any interest in getting treatment.
Alec Cook makes a statement through tears: "I’m sorry. I was wrong. You told the truth and everyone should believe you. This is my fault. You didn’t deserve this and neither did your families. To them too, I am so sorry." #news3 pic.twitter.com/WfG5XUbgqK— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) June 21, 2018
“I’m sorry. I was wrong. You told the truth and everyone should believe you. This is my fault. You didn’t deserve this and neither did your families. To them, too, I am so sorry," Cook said through tears.
Cook was also ordered to not have contact with any of the victims and their families.
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