A longtime Penn State professor was charged Tuesday after an investigation into trail camera footage showing a man performing sexual acts with a dog in Rothrock State Forest.
Themis Matsoukas, 64, of State College, was caught on camera in April committing sexual acts with his dog near the restrooms at Rothrock State Forest, according to a criminal complaint filed by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Matsoukas Tried to Record Himself Performing the Sexual Acts
DCNR set up the trail camera to monitor suspected thefts from a restroom in the Rothrock State Forest parking lot but instead captured images of an unknown man, later identified as Matsoukas, engaging in lewd acts in and around the parking lot and restroom, the charging documents state.
The alleged acts included indecent exposure, masturbation, and sexual contact with a dog, according to investigators. Matsoukas was seen on video allegedly attempting to record himself performing the acts on an electronic tablet, according to investigators.
Matsoukas was identified by park rangers by his North Face backpack, which was visible in the camera footage from the April incident. The parking lot camera captured Matsoukas performing similar acts in May, charging documents state.
The backpack was also present in images depicting Matsoukas nude from the waist down, except for socks and shoes, in images from trail cameras dating as far back as 2014, according to the complaint.
'I Do it to Blow Off Steam'
According to the complaint, Matsoukas was "visibly nervous" and repeatedly told the rangers "I'm done, I'm dead, you don't understand, I do it to blow off steam." He allegedly begged the rangers to shoot him at one point, saying "I need to die," the charging documents state.
Rangers served a search warrant to Matsoukas at his home in State College on June 9. During the execution of the search warrant, rangers found "all items listed" in the warrant, including the backpack and a ski mask that was visible in the April 13 camera footage.
Investigators say they were able to photograph a collie present at Matsoukas' home, and that its physical characteristics matched those of the dog seen in the videos.
Matsoukas 'Relieved of his Responsibilities,' Placed on Leave
The professor of chemical engineering — who earned his Ph.D. from Michigan — has been with Penn State since 1991. During that time, he's written several books, published dozens of journal articles and won at least three teaching awards, including the Premier Teaching Award from the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society in 2017.
"Themis Matsoukas has been relieved of his responsibilities and is on leave," read a statement from the university. He was charged with misdemeanor charges of open lewdness, indecent exposure and sexual intercourse with an animal, and summary charges of cruelty to animals and disorderly conduct. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 19 in Huntingdon County.
Matsoukas was arraigned Tuesday, according to court records. He has a hearing set for July 19.