Two new victims have come forward accusing a Lakeland mental health counselor of inappropriately touching them during sessions.
That brings the total to four patients with accusations against Anthony Conti, 71, of Lakeland.
“We are shocked just like the community,” said Sgt. Gary Gross with the Lakeland Police Department.
Conti, who is not a doctor and has no business making physical contact with patients, justified the touching as a form of treatment for depression, according to the patients.
He claimed it would “restart the body,” according to the arrest affidavit.
“He’s a good man,” said Art Fulmer, Jr., who is representing Conti and happens to work right next door.
“The one thing I can tell you about the allegations is not to rush to judgment. Based on what I’ve heard I can kind of see that as an issue, and I would just ask that people hold off on any kind of judgment,” he said.
Wednesday afternoon, a judge ordered Fulmer to be held on a $200 thousand bond, but that’s not counting the two new victims that came forward in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, overnight, detectives seized medical files from Conti’s office to find more evidence and search for new potential victims.
“We were in fear that there would be more victims coming forward,” Gross said. “If there was anything inappropriate, whether it was the language, or the touch, we want to know. So please, please give us a call and let us look into that.