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Man identified as corrections officer in Martin County accused of sexual battery

Alleged victims afraid Brett Bania would 'ruin their lives,' arrest report states
Posted at 1:36 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 19:01:17-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A man who's identified in an arrest report as a corrections officer in Martin County is behind bars, accused of sexual battery on two women.

Brett Bania, 23, was being held in the main Palm Beach County jail Thursday on a $30,000 bond.

According to a newly released arrest report, a 23-year-old woman said she, Bania and her ex-boyfriend were drinking beer and playing video games at her home on April 29.

The woman and her ex-boyfriend got into a fight and he left.

Later in the night, Bania went into the woman's bedroom and told her he didn't want to sleep by himself. They laid in bed watching a movie and drinking.

"Brett tried to kiss her and she told him no," the arrest report stated, adding that the woman told Bania "no" nine to 10 times.

Eventually, she fell asleep.

"She woke up to him behind her, pulling her pants down," the arrest report said. "She said she was not fully conscious so she did not realize he was having sex with her until around 3-4 minutes after he began."

The woman said she told Bania to stop, and he "kept telling her it was only going to be one time."

The alleged victim told Bania to go to the guest room, which he eventually did.

According to the arrest report, days later, the woman told her 23-year-old friend about the incident, and that friend said Bania had raped her, too, back in November.

The second alleged victim said she and Bania were at a friend's house on Nov. 30, and she and Bania were lying in bed together.

"She was laying on her side and Brett was behind her. He kept trying to take off [the alleged victim's] pants and she told him no," the arrest report stated. "He had sex with her even though she told him no. She was crying and he put his hand over her mouth."

According to the arrest report, the women told Palm Beach County investigators they were scared to come forward at first because "[Bania] is aggressive and they were afraid he would ruin their lives. He flashes his badge and gets away with anything he wants because he is a corrections officer and has friends who are police officers."

The second alleged victim said "she was scared of Brett because he told her his badge will keep him out of trouble. She said he is a corrections officer in Martin County."

WPTV contacted the Martin County Sheriff's Office and spokeswoman Christine Weiss said Bania is not employed by their agency. Instead, Weiss said Bania is a correctional officer at the Martin Correctional Institute in Indiantown.

On July 6, Palm Beach County detectives set up a controlled phone call in which one of the women called Bania.

According to the arrest report, during the phone call, "she asked him if he remembered when that thing happened in April with them where she said no a bunch of times and then the sex happened. He responded, 'Yeah.'"

"[The alleged victim] said, "It's not okay to have sex with girls after they say no' and he responded, 'I know. The time with me and you I was mixing a lot of stuff, but I don't remember it all and I'm sorry and I apologized a hundred times,'" the arrest report stated. "She asked if he felt bad about what he did to her and he said, 'yea (sic), really bad.'"

Bania was arrested and booked into the Palm Beach County jail Wednesday on charges of sexual battery.

In court Thursday, a judge set Bania's bond at $30,000 and ordered him to not have any contact with the alleged victims and not consume any drugs or alcohol.

Kayla McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, which oversees the Martin Correctional Institute, said Bania resigned Aug. 7.

"The sheriff's allegations in this case are in complete opposition with the core values of our agency," the Florida Department of Corrections said in a statement. "FDC encourages anyone with any additional information to please report it immediately to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office."