HALLANDALE BEACH (CBSMiami) — The victim of a violent rape in Hallandale Beach is warning other women about the man who allegedly attacked her.
Andrea told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that when she met Elijah Bankston, 59, through her church several months ago, she thought she could trust him.
“He said he was an ordained minister,” she recalled of her roommate.
Last week, Andrea moved in to the Hallandale Beach apartment that Bankston shared with his brother.
“If you can’t trust your pastor, who are you going to trust? All he would do is pray, pray, pray every day,” she said. “How can I be more careful? He said he was a pastor.”
One thing she wasn’t aware of was his criminal record. Police said Bankston is a habitual violent felony offender. Andrea didn’t see that side come out initially.
“He helped me pay my bills and he did everything. I never thought he would turn on me,” she said.
On January 15th, Bankston, however, attacked Andrea following an argument they had while delivering food for their church, according to an arrest report.
“He grabbed the key from the ignition and said ‘get out.’ And I said, ‘I’m not getting out’ and he said ‘you need to get out the car.'”
Then he slapped her.
“He knocked loose my dental implants here,” Andrea said, pointing to her upper jaw.
Then she said she was dragged into their apartment and raped and sodomized for several hours.
“It seemed like an eternity,” she recalled. “I was thinking, I don’t want to be here. And I asked him why he done it. There was no reason why he did it. He had been nice to me.”
But that kindness wore off.
“I think I could have lost my life. Every time I think about this. He was squeezing my neck and he almost put my eyes out,” Andrea recounted. “There wasn’t much else he could do to me.”
Hallandale Beach Police said a second victim has come forward, saying Bankston also assaulted her.
“I’m happy because it clearly shows I am not crazy,” Andrea said. “I am not paranoid. I am not making up stories.”
Bankston is facing several charges, including Sexual Assault and False Imprisonment.
“Oh my God, I am glad they got him,” Andrea said. “I hope he get the help he needs.”
Andrea has a message for other women.
“Be careful of people who come up to you with a Bible. If they come up to you with a Bible, run.”
If anyone has any information or is a victim of Elijah Bankston, call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.