4 patients say psychotherapist touched them inappropriately

(WFLA)
(WFLA)

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Police say four patients have come forward saying a Lakeland psychotherapist who practiced “massage therapy” touched them inappropriately.

The Lakeland Police Department’s Special Victims Unit says it has identified four victims of Anthony H. Conti Jr., 71, who is a licensed mental health counselor at Tony Conti M.A. Counseling Center located at 1962 Edgewood Dr. in Lakeland.

Conti was arrested in September after one of his patients told police that he groped her and put his hands down her pants during a touching treatment that he said could help rid her body of toxins, officials said.

Detectives say Conti practiced massaging/touching therapy on three victims and let the victims believe that the sexual contact was consistent with or was part of the treatment.

Detectives say Conti touched the fourth victim’s genitals on two separate occasions.

New charges filed against Conti include three counts of attempted psychotherapist engage in sex with client and two counts of psychotherapist engage in sex with client.

Investigators believe there could be more potential victims. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to come forward and speak with a detective by calling 863.834.8977. All victim’s identities will remain confidential as protected by Florida State Law.

One of his patients told police that Conti had been talking to her for months about eastern medicine therapy and neurotransmitter releases that can be done, police said.

He went into detail about serotonins and said Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid is produced in a person’s stomach and dopamine is produced in the crotch area, according to authorities.

The victim said Conti commented on how gorgeous she was.

During another session, the victim said Conti massaged her underneath her panties and she told him to stop, which he did, according to officials. Then he began to touch her breasts and told her she had beautiful breasts, investigators said.

Conti later told the victim that he touched her because he was trying to “restart” her body, according to officials.

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