Woman allegedly assaulted at Water Street bar

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Woman allegedly assaulted at Water Street bar

Story by Haley Zblewski and Taylor Kuether

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A woman was allegedly sexually assaulted  Saturday, Oct. 6 by a 22-year-old UW-Eau Claire student in a bathroom at She-Nannigans on Water Street.

Alexandre Freitas-Silveira has been charged with one count of second degree sexual assault and one count of substantial battery. Freitas-Silveira is a 22-year-old native of Brazil studying abroad at Eau Claire.

According to the criminal complaint issued by the Eau Claire County Clerk of Courts: A woman was dancing at She-Nannigans when she left the dance floor to use the restroom. A man with “spiky black hair” followed her into the bathroom and locked the door.

The man pushed her into the wall, where she hit her head and said she didn’t remember anything between hitting her head and waking up to two women standing over her.

The two women had tried entering the bathroom, and, feeling resistance, pushed their way in. The women said a man was in the bathroom at the time but left when they entered.

At that point, the victim was lying on the floor crying with her clothing askew, exposing her body. The man was kicked out of She-Nannigans; police found him shortly after at Dooley’s Pub. He was taken to the Eau Claire Police Department.

The victim was taken to the police department where she was interviewed, then taken to Sacred Heart Hospital for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination.

During questioning, Freitas-Silveira admitted to being in the bathroom with the woman but said the meeting was
consensual.

A She-Nannigans bouncer reported the assault to police shortly after it occurred. She-Nannigans management declined to comment for the story, but one employee of 10 months said it was the first sexual assault case that’s occurred at the bar while he’s worked there.

He also said bar patrons and staff were not aware the assault was happening until the “very last minute.” The employee chose to remain anonymous for this story.

Freitas-Silveira was reached for comment but declined. “I’m already under investigation,” he said, “I don’t need any
more trouble.”

Freitas-Silveira resides in Towers Hall North. Deb Newman, associate director of the office of Housing and Residence Life, said that while she cannot speak specifically about one student,  in incidents where a law is broken, the housing judicial board does look into students who may pose a threat to the safety of a residence hall.

Incidents that occur off university land are looked at on both a university level with the Blugold Code and on a housing office level with the Housing Judicial Code.

These can be punishable if seen to be a threat to the university environment. Punishment ranges from written reprimand to expulsion from the university.

Newman said that students accused of breaking laws are always given a fair chance.

“In any case, all students have a right to due process,” she said. “Before making any decision, (the judicial board) make sure they’ve had a chance to talk to the student, to talk to witnesses, before they make a decision about what they should do.”

Once a decision is made about a punishment, a student can appeal it for up to 14 days, according to the Blugold Code.

Prior to this incident, Freitas-Silveira had no criminal record in the U.S. or in Brazil. As a result of his arrest, Freitas-Silveira cannot drink alcohol or enter taverns, had to surrender his passport to the Clerk of Courts office and must report to the county jail three times per week.

Freitas-Silveira’s pretrial hearing date is Oct. 24 at 2:30 p.m.; he will return to court Nov. 1 at 9:30 a.m. for further trial.
If convicted of both felonies, Freitas-Silveira could face up to 26 1/2 years in prison.

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