Before he was accused of sexually assaulting multiple women at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 20-year-old Alec Cook was a guitar-loving high school rugby player who said his main influences included God, Jimmy Page and Satan.
In a profile published in his high school newspaper two years ago, the Edina, Minnesota, native talked about his love of music and performing for his classmates.
Asked about his main influences, Cook replied: “[T]he Christian God, number one. And then probably Satan as number two because without Satan, God would have nothing to do."
Cook told the newspaper his other influences were musicians Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix, and the comedy band Flight of the Conchords. After thinking about it for a bit, however, the newspaper says Cook modified his answer: “[A]ctually, no, put Jimi first because Jimi and God are interchangeable.”
Cook was charged Thursday with 15 counts related to the sexual assault of five women. The earliest assault allegedly took place on March 20, 2015, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Dane County District Attorney’s office. He appeared in Dane County Circuit Court for a bail hearing on Thursday where a judge set a $200,000 cash bond.
Police arrested Cook last week after a fellow UW student accused him of strangling and assaulting her at his apartment on October 12, according to the criminal complaint. More victims began coming forward soon after.
A search warrant filed with the Dane County Circuit Court states that dozens of women have come to the police wanting to speak about "unknown acts related to Cook." It's unclear if or how many of those women have said they were victims of sexual assault.
The warrant also states that a detective who searched Cook's apartment had found a black leather notebook in a nightstand drawer that listed the names of "a series" of women, how he met them and what he liked about them. Some entries went on to document "what he wanted to do with the females" and had one reference to the word "kill," the warrant states.
The university has placed Cook under emergency suspension and banned him from campus.
Cook's attorneys, Chris Van Wagner and Jessa Nicholson, have denied all allegations against their client and said the notebook police found was not proof of anything.
"You tell me what it means, it doesn't appear to mean anything," Van Wagner told NBC News Thursday, adding that his client's sexual encounters were all consensual.
"Our client has been essentially slaughtered by the social media image of him," Van Wagner told reporters during a press conference. "He's been painted as the face of evil in Madison, and now across the entire nation, across the globe. That's wrong."
Susan Brott, Director of Communications for Edina Public Schools, confirmed to NBC News that Cook was a student at Edina High and that he graduated in 2014. In the profile published in the school’s newspaper in February 2014, Cook is described as a “guitar man,” who roamed the halls performing for his classmates.
Griffin Thompson, 20, who wrote the piece, told NBC News that for the most part, Cook was a regular guy. An online collection of bios from the class of 2014 at Edina High School states that Cook played rugby and hoped to attend Yale after UW-Madison to become an astronaut.
"I hope to become the first man to grow AstroTurf in space," the bio states. Under a section marked "Activities/Honors," it also says: "I'm fast and like skateboards."
A video posted on the school’s website around the same time as the 2014 article shows Cook singing an original song entitled, “The Ballad of Sweetheart’s.”