A man accused of raping a drunk University of Wisconsin student who had become separated from her friends goes on trial Thursday in Dane County for second degree sexual assault, more than two years after the alleged assault occurred.

Anderson Dasilva, 29, who was extradited from Massachusetts to face the charge, faces both prison time and eventual deportation if convicted of the crime. Dasilva is a native of Brazil and the United States government has placed an immigration detainer on him in Dane County, the first step in deportation proceedings.

Much of the delay in the case came after the Madison Police Department referred the matter to the District Attorney's Office for charges, but the case file became lost in that office. It was not until August of 2008 that Dasilva was charged in a complaint and warrant, and although he was arrested within days of the warrant being issued, there was further delay for extradition proceedings.

According to the criminal complaint, Dasilva and a friend, Arijuanior Pereira Costa, were out on the town the night of March 9 and early morning hours of March 10, 2007, when they came across the then 23-year-old woman crying outside the Kollege Klub, 529 N. Lake St., after bar time. The young woman said she got separated from her friends and was unable to call them because her cell phone battery was dead, and that she didn't have a key to her apartment. Dasilva offered her a ride and the two men helped her get into Dasilva's van, according to the criminal complaint.

As they were driving away, Costa offered to allow the girl to use a cell phone of his and they drove to his apartment to get it. The victim then tried calling several of her friends, which turned out to be crucial to police solving the case. Costa returned to his house and told Dasilva to take the woman back to the bar where they found her.

Instead, the complaint says, Dasilva drove to an isolated rural area where he raped the woman. She fought Dasilva's efforts and screamed, she would later say, and Dasilva told her "I'm going to kill you if you don't shut up."

The woman would later tell police "I thought I was going to die," the complaint says. Dasilva let the woman out of his van near the Essen Haus just blocks of off the Capitol Square, then left.

Police were able to trace calls made by the victim to her friends back to Costa's phone, and Costa told them he was with Dasilva that night, resulting in the referral to the DA's office for charges against Dasilva.

The case got buried under files for low priority forgery cases, and was not issued until last year. By then Dasilva had moved to Massachusetts and sold the van which was allegedly used in the rape and is not available for evidence collection.

Jurors in the case were picked Monday, in a proceeding which lasted much of the day. Several of those on the jury panel were either sexual assault victims themselves, or knew someone who was. Of those, about half were excused and replaced by others from the panel.

The seven men and six women, one of whom will be designated as an alternate at the end of testimony, will hear evidence beginning Thursday morning.

One witness has already testified. Jurors will be shown a videotape of the testimony of one of the victim's friends whom she called that night using Costa's cell phone. The videotape was made because the witness had already paid for a plane ticket for spring break.

Mike Miller — 3/16/2009 2:43 pm