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Mental Health Counselor Arrested Again

Mental Health Counselor Arrested Again

On June 22, 2017 psychotherapist, Anthony H. Conti Jr. Conti was arrested again and charged with Sexual Misconduct by a Psychotherapist.

On September 12, 2016, the Lakeland Police Department began to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct by 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. Six victims were identified and charges were filed with the State Attorney’s Office. Conti was out on bond at the time of the arrest today.

On June 8th, 2017, the Lakeland Police Department opened another investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct against Anthony Conti Jr. The victim, 33 years old, stated she attended three therapy sessions with Conti in 2014 and 2015.

During the therapy session, the victim stated that Conti touched her inappropriately some of which was underneath her clothing. The victim described the touching as sexual and caressing. Conti advised lymph nodes hold toxins which affect depression and needed to be massaged out. The touch therapy lasted 20 minutes.

The victim stated that during prior therapy sessions, Conti told her how beautiful she was and how touch therapy would help her release serotonin levels and help her feel more balanced.

On March 3, 2015, the victim reported this incident to her Employee Assistance Program service who arranged the referral to Conti. The incident was documented and a representative from the EAP service spoke to Conti. This was never reported to the Lakeland Police Department by the EAP referral service.

LPD’s investigation revealed that Anothony Conti utilized his position to provide and purport treatment “massaging/touching therapy” as a representation to the client that sexual contact by the psychotherapist is consistent with or part of the treatment of the client for the betterment of her PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Lakeland Police Detective Christina Barrett obtained an arrest warrant for Sexual Misconduct by a Psychotherapist, F3, and Conti was arrested at his residence on June 22nd and transported to the Polk County Jail.


On May 6, at 8:01 a.m., Reinaldo Diaz Jr, returned to his work truck that was parked at 4141 S. Florida Avenue (Imperial Swan Hotel) in the parking garage. where he observed Bert Lietzow going through his tool box. The tool box was secured in the rear of a 2014 Ford F150 that belongs to Precision Fire System. Lietzow had already removed two Dewalt drills, a battery charger and drill-bit set by this time and placed them into a green bag.

When Lietzow was confronted by Diaz, he offered Diaz $100.00 not to report the incident to the police. Diaz refused the money and Lietzow fled on foot. Diaz called 911 and Lietzow was apprehended a short time later by our officers.

Lietzow had been at the Imperial Swan Hotel to attend a Pre-Trial Intervention class due to a previous theft charge.

Lietzow was later transported to the Polk County Jail.

Arrested: Bert Lietzow, 66 years old, 6773 Ponce De Leon Avenue, Lake Wales, Florida.

Charge: Burglary to a Conveyance and Petit Theft.


Arrest Made In Triple Traffic Fatality from July 9, 2016

LAKELAND, FL (April 24, 2017) - On Saturday, July 9, 2016 at approximately 11:36 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department Traffic Homicide Team responded to the scene of a fatal crash involving (3) fatalities. An orange colored Volkswagen GTI was traveling southbound in the inside lane on US 98 north in the 4900 block. A blue Nissan Sentra was traveling northbound in the middle lane on US 98 North in the 4900 block. The Volkswagen was street racing a light in color, possible white, Ford Mustang.  The driver of the Volkswagen, later identified as Michael Marrero lost control and entered the northbound lanes of US 98 North. Marrero then crossed through the inside northbound lane and entered the middle lane of US 98 North at which time the front of the Volkswagen impacted the Nissan on the front left corner. The impact redirected the Nissan causing it to rotate, flip and come to a final rest approximately 30 feet away from the point of impact. Marrero continued in the Volkswagen coming to a final rest approximately 49 feet away from the point of impact in the roadway. 

The operator of the Nissan, Christopher Lee Stewart Jr., 22 years old, and the front seat passenger, Kathrin Renee Pitock, 22 years of age, died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The rear passenger, Brittany Danielle Lewis, 25 years of age, was transported to the Lakeland Regional Health Center in critical condition but died a short time later from injuries she sustained in the crash. 

During the on-scene investigation independent witnesses were interviewed and described Marrero’s driving pattern prior the crash to be consistent with street racing. One witness stated that he observed Marrero racing a white Mustang at an estimated speed of 80 miles per hour or higher. 

A second witness stated that he was southbound on US 98 North, when Marrero and a white mustang drove by him racing and that the mustang cut in front of Marrero causing him to lose control and enter the northbound lanes of traffic.

A third witness stated she observed both of the vehicles going approximately 110 to 120 miles per hour and she believed that they were racing. 

Traffic reconstruction revealed that the Volkswagen driven by Marrero was traveling at a minimum of 73.37 miles per hour at the beginning of the skid marks and an impact speed of 65.14 miles per hour, in a posted 45 miles per hour zone. 

Based on witness statements, roadway evidence and reconstruction, Marrero was arrested today, April 24th on (3) counts of Vehicular Homicide, F2. Marrero was arrested at his residence without incident and later transported to the Polk County Jail. A video of the arrest has been posted on the LakelandPD Facebook site. 


Michael Joseph Marrero, DOB, 11/9/89, 514 Jamestown Avenue, Lakeland, Florida. 


Pedestrian Killed In Traffic Crash

Pedestrian Killed In Traffic Crash

LAKELAND, FL (April 17, 2017) - On Monday, April 17, 2017 at approximately 4:47 p.m., Lakeland Police officers responded to the area of Beacon Road and Lincoln Avenue, in reference to a traffic crash involving a pedestrian struck by a car.

Steven Higgins, age 57, of Lakeland, was struck and killed by a 2001 Nissan Sentra driven by 29-year-old Steven Statterfield. According to reports, Higgins was standing on the sidewalk waiting for the pedestrian light to change to cross Beacon Road when he was struck. Statterfield was traveling east on Beacon Road and for unknown reasons, lost control of the vehicle, drove up on the sidewalk and struck Higgins. The vehicle continued traveling through the intersection, striking a house on the south east corner of the intersection.

Emergency medical professionals from the Lakeland Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and began assisting officers in providing life saving measures. Higgins was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Center as a trauma alert. Sadly, Higgins passed away due to the injuries sustained in the crash at approximately 7:42 p.m. Statterfield did not sustain any injuries.

Members of the LPD Traffic Homicide Unit closed the area surrounding the intersection of Beacon Road and Lincoln Avenue for approximately three and a half hours.

No charges have been filed at this time. This is an open case and the Lakeland Police Department Traffic Homicide team is continuing to investigate.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.