North Haven Housing Authority Chairman Arrested

NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– The head of North Haven’s Housing Authority has been arrested on sexual assault charges. Ralph Cook, the housing authority’s chairman and a Rotary Club volunteer, is still behind bars at the North Haven Police Department.

Residents say he would routinely have get-togethers at his home, and police say he sexually assaulted one of the men invited to his party.

“Everyone who’s arrested is presumed to be innocent,” said Cook’s attorney, William Dow. “We’re prepared to face these charges court. We look forward to doing so.”

We spoke to Dow on his way to meet with detectives and Cook.

“There was an arrangement for us to turn himself in today and they went out a made a big show of arresting him,” said Dow.

North Haven police say he was arrested Tuesday morning after an investigation that spans more than a year. In October 2013, Cook hosted a party at his home on Mountain Brook Road. Police say he forced a man to perform sexual acts. They say DNA evidence led them to make the arrest.

“DNA evidence is not dispositive of all cases and people know that,” said Dow. “I got an acquittal two years ago on a DNA case.”

Many in town know the 49-year-old charged with first-degree sexual assault and unlawful restraint. One woman at the housing authority says she couldn’t believe this, and that Cook has been very helpful to a lot of people in town. The town’s first selectman was caught off guard as well.

“I was absolutely surprised to hear this news,” said North Haven First Selectman Michael J. Freida. “The housing authority will be acting without him at this juncture.”

Cook is being held on $250,000 bond and will be arraigned in Meriden Superior Court.

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