University of Tampa professor charged with recording sex acts while watching child porn: affidavit

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A University of Tampa Physics professor was arrested and charged last month after detectives found videos of him watching and pleasuring himself to child pornography, according to an affidavit.

Several videos were discovered of Ethan Deneault, 46, alongside his partner at the time, standing at the edge of a bed with a pair of young girl’s underwear. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said they believe Deneault and his partner set up the camera to film themselves performing sex acts while watching the videos.

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The affidavit said Deneault was viewing the child sex abuse material on his laptop, as a woman in the video was abusing a 9-year-old girl. As the couple watched the video, Clark would direct Deneault on what to do with the underwear.

The affidavit said Deneault committed the crime of sexual exploitation of children on Jan. 8, 2023, in Jackson, Georgia. On Jan. 11, an agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation obtained three warrants for his arrest.

Deneault was taken into custody by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on Jan. 12 in his office in the Jenkins Health building at the university on an out-of-state fugitive warrant.

Deneault was handcuffed, searched, and had his iPhone seized by deputies, the affidavit said.

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According to the affidavit, Deneault’s charge is “punishable by death or a term of imprisonment exceeding one year.” He was taken to the Orient Road Jail.

On the University’s department contacts page, Deneault’s email was removed and his information is limited to, “Ethan Deneault is currently on administrative leave.”

In a statement to, the University of Tampa released the following comment:

The University is aware that Ethan Deneault, professor of physics, was taken into custody by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Deneault has been placed on administrative leave pending additional information about his arrest. As such he is not teaching for the spring term and is not present on campus.

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