MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman who traveled to South Florida on vacation said her trip took a terrifying turn when the manager of the South Beach hotel where she and a friend were staying followed her into her room and battered her.
The alleged victim, who was not identified, on Friday shared her account of the disturbing moments at the Waldorf Towers Hotel along the 800 block of Ocean Drive.
“This was one night that forever changed my life. Like, I don’t feel like I’ll ever be the same,” she said.
Miami Beach Police said the woman was the victim of battery on March 23, 2021.
“I was definitely scared out of my mind,” she said.
The alleged victim said she was followed into her hotel room.
“All of a sudden, there’s a knock at the door,” she said. “He identified himself as the owner or hotel manager.”
The woman said the suspect, later identified as Anthony Banderas, took off her bathing suit against her will.
Body camera footage captured what she told officers at the time of the incident.
“[He] touched me and kissed me. He was kissing me in my chest area,” she said. “He had his hands down in a very uncomfortable place.”
The alleged victim said she was afraid of what would happen if she angered her assailant.
“Oh, my gosh, like, he could really get upset. He could really hurt me,” she said.
“If he wanted to overpower me, he could,” the woman told officers.
All the while, she told officers, she kept telling Banderas to stop.
“I told him no multiple times,” she said.
The woman said she and her friend had drinks in the lobby prior to the crime.
“[My friend] just started getting very, very sick,” she said.
The alleged victim said her friend passed out in their room, but the two were tailed by the hotel’s now former manager.
Police said Banderas entered the woman’s room and attacked her, forcing her to seek help from a friend via her phone and FaceTime.
“I turn the camera around, and my friend could literally see him dashing out the door,” she said.
“He, like, hauled ass to get out of here,” she told officers.
Paul Aloise, the woman’s attorney, has filed a civil suit against Banderas, as well as the hotel and Room Mate, Inc., the hotel’s parent company, for negligence.
“We want justice for my client,” said Aloise.
Banderas’ criminal case is pending.
“It seems very obvious that he was trying to deceive the police and change his appearance,” said Aloise.
The attorney pointed out that after the incident, when he met police, Banderas had changed outfits.
On March 25, Banderas slammed the door on a 7News crew seeking comment. At the time, he was still living at the Waldorf and had recently bailed out of jail.
His accuser said she plans to see the criminal case and civil suit all the way through.
“I’m not going away,” she said.
She said she wants him locked up again and then some.
“I want them to hear me and to see me and to know that this was not OK,” she said.
As of Friday night, neither the Waldorf Towers nor Room Mate, Inc. have responded to 7News’ requests for comment.
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