Sanford Old Jailhouse restaurant owner accused of trying to sexually assault worker

Anthony Sirica arrested Friday

Anthony Sirica

SANFORD, Fla. – The owner of the former Seminole County jailhouse turned restaurant and bar is accused of attempting to sexually assault a female employee, according to Sanford police.

The victim was working as a general laborer for Anthony Sirica, who owns the Old Jailhouse restaurant in Sanford, when the incident occurred Friday, police said.

The victim told police that while helping Sirica move and sort items in a storage shed in Sanford she tripped over a box and he grabbed her breast, while helping her stand up. A few minutes later, the victim said, Sirica approached her with his jeans unzipped and his erect penis out of his pants.

The victim told police Siricia grabbed the back of her head and started pushing her head down. The victim said that as Siricia was grabbing her, an alert went off on her phone and she grabbed the phone and secretly began recording the encounter.

Police reviewed the video and said it shows Sirica standing with what appears to be an erection covered by his shirt. The video also shows the victim refuse to perform oral sex both physically and verbally, according to police.

"Anthony Sirica knew or should have known the victim did not wish to be touched, as evident by
physical and verbal cues," police wrote in the report.

In the video Sirica is heard saying, "All kidding aside, once you start, I won’t do that because you will be on my payroll and it becomes a different story." The victim interjected and said, "You still gonna be trying to do this stuff."

The victim and Sirica drove back to his home where she told his wife what happened and showed her the video. The victim then went to the Sanford Police Department to file a formal complaint.

Sanford police spoke with Sirica, who could not explain why he had an erection in the video or why he grabbed the victim's head. He denied any sexual encounter with the victim, according to the report.

Sirica was arrested May 24 on charges of attempted sexual assault, battery and exposure of sexual organs.

Sirica and his family turned the old Seminole County jail into a full-service restaurant and bar, which opened earlier this year. The building served as the jail from 1914 until 1959.

Earlier this month, the Sanford Historic Trust honored the Sirica family with the Historic Preservation Award for their work restoring and preserving the Old Jailhouse.