A salsa dance instructor who choreographed routines for the Fox TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” has been sentenced in Los Angeles to 10 years in prison for raping one woman and assaulting another.
Prosecutors said Alex Da Silva, 43, gave dance lessons at salsa clubs and dance studios where he met the aspiring dancers he assaulted. The assaults were not related to the TV show.
He was convicted of raping a 22-year-old woman in 2002 and attacking a 25-year-old woman with intent to commit rape in 2009.
The jury deadlocked on four other counts including two more alleged rapes. Those counts were dismissed.
Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy said Da Silva does not respect women and feels “he's Alex Da Silva, and he can do what he wants.”
Deputy District Attorney Martha Carrillo said Da Silva was a “rapist disguised as a popular salsa instructor.”
“With this defendant, charming, popular, likeable, no one expected him to do this,” she said.
Defense attorney Patrick S. Smith said the women who accused Da Silva were not telling the truth.
The Brazilian-born Da Silva had been arrested after complaints from three women, beginning in 2003, but was released due to insufficient evidence for prosecution. In 2009 a fourth woman accused Da Silva of luring her to his home, using a ruse to get her into his bedroom and raping her. Detectives reopened his case, went back to interview the other three women, and charges were filed. They said then they suspected there were other victims who had not come forward.
The judge said Da Silva will be required to register as a sex offender for life.