May 14, 2021
Tony Galli

MADISON (WKOW) -- A UW-Madison graduate student arrested for three, alleged sex crimes and cited for a disturbing campus incident tells 27 News the accusations are flawed.
"I never touched anyone," Mehrdad Zareh Bannad Kouki tells 27 News.
Madison Police say Kouki inappropriately touched a woman May 2 as she walked near University Avenue and Mills Street just before 2 a.m.
Police say publicity about that alleged crime led other women to come forward and allege similar experiences.
Madison Police say Kouki was arrested May 4 on tentative charges including fourth degree sexual assault, lewd and lascivious behavior and disorderly conduct. Police say the charges involve three, separate incidents.
UW Police Spokesperson Marc Lovicott says Kouki has also received a citation for tampering with security devices.
"On April 17...our officers responded to a report of a suspicious person who had entered a residence hall," Lovicott says.
Lovicott says a student told officers she had been followed. "The resident picked up their pace, made it to the residence hall, and used their ID card to gain access. The unknown man caught up and used his hand to prevent the door from closing behind. The resident retreated to a stairwell and pushed the door closed to prevent the man from following them," Lovicott says.
Lovicott says security camera footage helped police identify Kouki.
Kouki brands the police representations as "accusations" only but declines to offer specifics on each of the alleged encounters.
Dane County records show Kouki paid $1,300 bail and was released from the Dane County jail without having to appear before a judge or court commissioner. His bail release involves no geographical restrictions, no order barring contact with the accusing women and no monitoring, only a prohibition on any criminal behavior. Dane County's district attorney has yet to lodge any criminal charges against Kouki.
UW-Madison Spokesperson Meredith McGlone says Kouki continues as a PHD student in the College of Engineering and as a research assistant with the Mechanical Engineering Department. His Google Scholars profile lists previous, academic research with a Canadian university.
McGlone says accusations of sexual crimes against students on and off campus are serious matters.
"We...take all appropriate steps under our campus policies...to protect the safety of individual students and the campus community," she says.

‘I never touched anyone:’ Accused UW student speaks out on alleged sex crimes

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