Alec Cook will serve 3 years in prison, 8 years of probation, and 15 years on the state sex offender registry. That’s what Dane County Judge Steven Ehlke decided today.
Ehlke was emotional at times, as he explained his reasoning in the packed county courtroom today.
“My hope is that nothing bad will ever happen again, and that Mr. Cook will engage in counseling, significant treatment, reflect more deeply about the damage he’s done and never do this to anyone else,” Ehlke says.
Cook pled guilty to 5 felony charges of sexual assault, stalking, and strangulation. He had originally stood accused of more than 20 crimes involving 11 women on the UW campus over the course of two years. He had settled with the state, rather than going to trial.
The state had asked for a much longer sentence for Cook and to place him on the sex offender registry for a lifetime. But Judge Ehlke said he found those terms excessive compared to other recent sexual assault cases in his courtroom.
The Judge also said he considered that Cook had no prior convictions and did not violate any terms of his parole while determining his sentence. Yet – he said – he wanted the victims to know he believed them. He read some of their statements aloud in court, including this quote:
“I experienced violence no one should ever have to experience, and I don’t think I’ll ever feel safe again. I feel furious that I will spend the rest of my life trying to heal from Cook’s actions. Part of me died in order to survive that night with him, and that part will never grow back.”
Cook has twenty days to appeal.