UPDATE: A spokesman with the Georgia Secretary of State's Office said Daniel Staats is not licensed to provide counseling or therapy in the state. A search on the Tennessee Department of Health's website also does not show Staats as licensed in that state.
Staats told the Times Free Press in an email this afternoon that he is not guilty of the crime alleged. He did not immediately respond to a follow-up message asking if he was licensed to practice. His attorney, Marcus Morris, did not immediately respond to an email or call seeking comment.
A Dalton police incident report and press release say the two women in this case met Staats because they had to go to a counselor as part of their probation sentence. One of the women told Staats that his name was on a list of approved counselors, and his services were the least expensive.
Conasauga Judicial Circuit District Attorney Bert Poston told the Times Free Press in an email that he did not know of any such list.
"You'd have to ask probation," he said in an email. "Sentences generally require a type of counseling service, but leave the specific choice up to the defendant subject to approval by probation."
Mike Fowler, the administrator for the local day reporting center for defendants on probation, said he could not comment on the case. Jame Hill, a spokesman for the Department of Community Supervision, did not immediately respond to an email or call seeking comment.
ORIGINAL STORY: Dalton police arrested a counselor last week after two women accused him of making sexual advances.
According to an incident report, a woman began seeing Daniel Durward Staats at Helping the Hurting, a Christian-based counseling service, in August. The woman said she was ordered to see a counselor as part of her probation, and Staats' services were the cheapest. During her first visit, she told officers, Staats said he and his wife were in an open relationship and that it would be OK for the woman to send him pictures. He did not say what kind of pictures he wanted.
After the visit, she said, Staats, 63, sent her a Facebook friend request under the name Peter Dupree. He then started sending her messages.
"Hey beautiful," he wrote, according to the incident report.
A Dalton detective told the woman he wasn't sure if Staats had broken the law. However, he continued to investigate. Dalton police spokesman Bruce Frazier said the detective found a second client of Staats', who said the counselor fondled her breast during a visit in July.
The woman told police that she also performed oral sex at Staats' request.
According to the incident report, Department of Community Supervision officer Adam Peyton told an investigator that one of his co-workers had a similar experience with Staats in 2011.
After a visit with the counselor, Peyton said, Staats sent a Facebook message to the woman, asking if he could be in a relationship with her. The woman's husband then sent back a message, scolding Staats.
Staats is charged with sexual assault by a psychotherapist.
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