On September 12, the Lakeland Police Department began to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by 71-year-old psychotherapist, Anthony H. Conti Jr.
Conti is a licensed Mental Health Counselor at Tony Conti, M.A. Counseling Center, located at 1962 E. Edgewood Drive in Lakeland.
The first victim, 29 years of age, contacted Conti in late June / early July.
During her third visit with Conti, he mentioned how he could help rid her body of toxins and he discussed four levels of treatment. Conti explained that level one consisted of touching her on the neck, down the neck, the arm and breast region. He further stated that level four was intimate with hands on touching. Conti began level one treatment and the session ended.
On September 2, the victim received a phone call from Conti and he inquired as to why she hadn’t scheduled another session. The victim thought the phone call was out of the normal for him to contact her for an appointment, but she agreed to another session.
On September 10, the victim arrived for another session and Conti had her lay down on a sofa. Conti explained that there were glands in her breast region at which time he placed both of his hands underneath her bra and “groped” her breasts multiple times. The victim explained that she didn’t feel comfortable with this and had to leave. The victim stated that Conti then put his hands down her pants. The session ended and the victim later spoke with the State Attorney’s Office and they forwarded the case to the Lakeland Police Department.
On September 20, the Lakeland Police Department began a second investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct by Conti.
The 39-year-old victim in this case had been treated by Conti since December of 2015.
During a session on September 9, the victim stated that Conti rubbed her legs vigorously with both hands. Conti had also been talking to her for months about eastern medicine therapy and neurotransmitter releases that can be done. He further went into detail about serotonin’s and how Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid are produced in your stomach and dopamine that is produced in your crotch area. During this session, the victim stated Conti commented on how gorgeous she was. The session ended and another one was scheduled.
On September 15, the victim arrived for another session and Conti brought up the aforementioned therapies and explained the science behind it. Conti had the victim lay down and he began rubbing her stomach under her shirt. He then proceeded to slide his hand underneath her pants and her underwear. The victim stated she felt embarrassed and froze. Conti continued to rub her inner thighs while he explained about her lymph nodes and the importance of them. The victim further stated that Conti began to massage her underneath her panties. The victim then told Conti to stop at which point he did. Conti then moved to her upper chest and explained the mechanics of his touch. He proceeded to touch her breast and told her she had beautiful breasts. The session ended and the victim left.
On September 27, the victims worked with undercover detectives and made contact with Conti. During this visit, the victim asked Conti about him touching her during the previous therapy. Conti advised he does this because he is trying to restart the body and he referenced to touching the butt, breasts and vagina. Conti spoke of several other techniques, such as pelvic floor stimulation, and how they help relieve depression.
Conti, was placed under arrest shortly after the session and charged with:
- 2 counts Psychotherapist Engage in Sex with Client, Felony 2
Conti was later transported to the Polk County Jail.
The investigation is ongoing with the Special Victims Unit and the State Attorney’s Office, who assisted in the investigation.
The Lakeland Police Department says that a potential female victim has come forward after seeing the arrest news on social media.
Conti remains in jail as of Thursday morning.
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.