The Dalton Police Department arrested 63-year-old Daniel Durward Staats on a charge of sexual assault on Friday evening. The charge comes after an investigation of allegations inappropriate and illegal conduct by Staats with women who were in his care for court-ordered psychotherapy counseling as part of their probation.
Dalton Police said, "The investigation of Staats began in August.
A woman who was a patient of Helping The Hurting, a counseling service owned by Staats, came to the Dalton Police Department to report conduct by Staats that she felt was inappropriate during a counseling session. The woman reported that Staats was discussing sexual subjects with her, and told her that he and his wife were in an open relationship and that it would be ok for her to send him photos of herself. He also told the woman that he had a secret Facebook account under an assumed name and that they could use it to communicate. The woman received a friend request from the fake Facebook account and a few private messages. The woman did not allege any physical contact with Staats other than a hug at the end of one session.
"The investigation into the matter continued and led to contact with a second woman who alleged sexual assault by Staats. This woman also was in Staats’ care as a counselor as part of her probation. This woman reported that during a counseling session in July, Staats sat next to her on a couch and began to ask inappropriate questions and also fondled her breast. Staats then exposed his genitals and encouraged the victim to perform oral sex on him. Under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. 16-6-5.1, it is illegal for practitioners of psychotherapy to have sexual relations with people under their care. Staats also had supervisory authority over the victim because the patient was taking part in therapy as part of her probation."
The months-long investigation concluded in December with a detective obtaining a warrant for Staats’ arrest on Dec. 21 on a charge of sexual assault by practitioner of psychotherapy. Staats was arrested on Friday.
He was only charged in connection with the second woman.