Judge orders counselor’s arrest after brief hearing

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Attorneys for a Tupelo family counselor insist a young woman with a history of mental instability is wrong when she claims he fondled her during a recent office visit.
Circuit Judge Jim S. Pounds granted prosecutors’ requests to issue an arrest warrant for Malachy McCool, the 66-year-old counselor, after a brief probable cause hearing in the Lee County Justice Center Friday morning.
“I don’t believe for a minute that this man has touched anyone for improper purposes,” said McCool attorney T.K. Moffett.
McCool was ordered to be held at the Lee County Jail until he posted $25,000 bond.
Pounds denied a state motion to ban McCool’s contact with all minors, but said the counselor is prohibited from contact with the alleged victim, who reportedly was referred to him from Parkwood Behavioral Health in DeSoto County.
Tremaine Frison, a Tupelo Police detective, was the hearing’s only witness.
Under questions from County Prosecutor James Moore, Fryson said the 17-year-old’s mother complained to police after her daughter claimed McCool had her sit on his lap, hugged her, kissed her on the forehead and neck, and then rubbed her belly under her blouse.
McCool, who’s had a Tupelo practice about 16 years, told Fryson he did not recall touching the girl inappropriately during the counseling session.
The alleged victim did not appear at the hearing.
Paul Howell with the District Attorney’s Office said the case will be presented to the next grand jury.