UW police refer 2 more charges against accused serial sexual assailant Cook
MADISON, Wis. — University of Wisconsin-Madison police said a 2014 incident allegedly involving accused sexual assailant Alec Cook is prompting more charges referred against him Monday.
Cook faces 21 charges that include strangulation, sexual assault, stalking and false imprisonment based on allegations from 10 women dating back to March 2015. Cook was a UW-Madison student at the time of the alleged assaults.
During a final pretrial hearing in Dane County court, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said he was told by University of Wisconsin police that the department would be referring new charges against Cook based on a report from someone not related to the charges that brought him to court Friday. The information about new charges led to tense moments in court Friday afternoon.
On Monday afternoon, UWPD spokesman Marc Lovicott said police on Friday were made aware of an alleged incident between Cook and a female student that occurred three years ago in a UW residence hall.
Lovicott said UWPD referred charges of false imprisonment and disorderly conduct against Cook to the DA’s office Monday. UWPD said the incident is still under investigation and no further information was available Monday afternoon.
Ozanne said he was only informed of the possible arrest by UW officials about 10 minutes before court Friday. Cook’s attorneys, Christopher Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson, said the threat of arrest was an effort by police to sensationalize Cook’s case.
Judge Stephen Ehlke, calling describing the move by police as “sharp practices,” said the information about the possible arrest put him in an awkward position. But through Ozanne, UW police said they would refer the charges to Ozanne’s office instead of arresting Cook Friday.
Cook’s attorneys said they wouldn’t be prepared for trial until 2018. The final pretrial hearing was rescheduled for June 5.
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