Penn State professor accused of committing sexual acts with an animal in PA state forest

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 April 13 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 was identified by park rangers by his North Face backpack, which was visible in the camera footage from the April 13 incident. 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.

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.

Rangers served a search warrant to Matsoukas at his home in State College on June 9. 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.”

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.

His attorney, Matthew McClenahen, said Wednesday “it would be inappropriate to make any comment at this time.”

Matsoukas 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.