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Flagstaff massage therapist's license suspended amid sexual assault allegations

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A Flagstaff massage therapist had his license temporarily suspended by state regulators on Friday after failing to report two charges of sexual abuse ongoing in the Flagstaff Justice Court.

The charges stem from an incident in 2020, when a woman accused Timothy Williams, 67, of inappropriately touching her breasts during a massage.

The woman told the Arizona Daily Sun that she reported the crime to the Flagstaff Police Department in April, prompting a five-month police investigation. The charges were filed in the Flagstaff Justice Court on Monday, Aug. 30, and the case is ongoing.

Williams faced similar accusations nearly two decades ago in 2002 while working as a physical therapist when another woman claimed she was sexually assaulted. The woman reported to authorities that Williams invited her to his home for a massage and later touched her genitals about halfway through the session.

The suspension of Williams’ massage therapy license prevents him from practicing until an ongoing investigation is completed. The 2020 allegation is under investigation by the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy, which voted on Friday to approve an emergency suspension of Williams' license during a board meeting.

“There’s enough concerning items here that, for public safety, I think we need a suspension,” board member Michael K. Tapscott said.

Williams' license suspension will now move to an evidentiary hearing in front of a state administrative law judge within 60 days. During the upcoming hearing, Williams will be given the opportunity to submit evidence and arguments on his behalf.

According to an overview of the board’s initial review, a history of disciplinary actions from state regulators dating back more than two decades factored into Williams’ suspension.

Williams was present for the board meeting Friday and disputed an allegation that he knowingly falsified information on his application for a massage therapy license submitted in 2011. He was issued a massage therapy license that year by members of the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy.

When Williams submitted his application for licensing, the board alleges he falsified his application by failing to disclose past disciplinary action and legal convictions.

The board said Williams failed to disclose a 2002 felony charge and a probationary order issued in 1994 by another state regulatory board, the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy, for engaging in a sexual relationship with a client.

Williams said during the board review Friday that he did not mention the felony conviction in 2002 on his application because it was later set aside by a Coconino County Superior Court judge in 2004. He said the failure to notify of his 1994 probationary order was an oversight on his behalf.

The board alleges Williams also failed to notify state regulators of his current sexual assault charges within 10 days, as mandated by state law. Williams said he thought the board was notified by his legal counsel, and that an attorney had recused himself from the ongoing sexual assault case.

During initial review, the board said it contacted Williams for a telephone interview. In that interview, Williams allegedly admitted to the ongoing charges, but stated he was unaware of the 10-day reporting requirement.

The board said Williams also admitted to surrendering his physical therapy license voluntarily in 2002 -- which he did not report on the 2011 application for his massage therapy license.

The board noted during its review that letters had been received in support of Williams, including a letter from Mary Kuzell-Babbitt, the wife of former Flagstaff mayor and congressional candidate Paul Babbitt.

Records from the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy corroborate that Williams has faced past disciplinary action. A summary of disciplinary action from the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy in 2002 states Williams voluntarily surrendered his physical therapy license that year.

The summary cites a conviction of sexual assault, along with unethical conduct and failure to receive informed consent, all violations of state law for active license holders. A past report from the Arizona Daily Sun shows Williams owned and operated the Flagstaff business Uniformity the year his physical therapy license was surrendered.

Police investigation

The woman who reported Williams to the FPD told investigators in April that she was concerned with treatment she received at the business Well-being and Transformation in January 2020, according to a police report released to the Arizona Daily Sun.

She told officers she sought treatment from Williams because she was going through chemotherapy. She said Williams told her he was a lymph node specialist and had touched her bare breasts.

At first, she thought Williams’ practice was a part of a standard cancer treatment procedure, she told officers. But after learning of past allegations against Williams, noting a Daily Sun police log she came across from 2002, she questioned her experience. Her concerns grew after visiting two other specialists who did not touch her breasts.

Andrew White, an investigator with the Arizona State Board of Massage Therapy, spoke to officers and said “touching of the breast should require a waiver to be signed” and added that “any touching would not include the nipple or areola,” according to the police report.

A police officer noted in the report that the woman appeared distraught and unsettled about her experience. She advised officers that she knew Williams' patients included multiple other women and children.

The woman told officers she spoke to a friend who also received treatment from Williams. She said the friend had told her about a tailbone adjustment she received from Williams that involved him inappropriately touching her.

The friend was contacted by a police investigator and reported she had received treatment for a broken tailbone. She told the investigator that, when asked, Williams would manually align her coccyx. The woman no longer sees Williams but said she was a patient from 2017 to 2018 and had the procedure done “five or six times.” She told police she did not “have any complaints about him.”

According to the police report, White told an officer the treatment was "outside the scope of [Williams’] license.”

The police report notes that investigators spoke with the executive director of the Arizona State Board of Physical Therapy, Karen Donahue, who explained that therapy would have required “additional study and course specific to that adjustment.”

At the conclusion of the police report, it states that investigators recorded a phone call between Williams and the woman who reported her concerns to the department in April. The investigator said Williams said on the phone that he had worked on the woman’s breasts and that he had received training to do so.

The investigation was closed and forwarded by the Flagstaff Police Department to the Coconino County Attorney’s Office for charging.

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