Award-winning Penn State professor accused of molesting dog to ‘blow off steam’

This week, Themis Matsoukas, a 64-year-old professor of chemical engineering at Penn State University and recipient of the 2017 Premier Teaching Award from the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society, was arrested after a new trail camera in a Pennsylvania state park allegedly captured him walking around naked, masturbating, and performing sexual acts on his pet dog.

According to court records viewed by Law&Crime, he was charged with one count each of sexual intercourse with an animal, cruelty to animals, indecent exposure, open lewdness, and disorderly conduct. Penn State University has stated that Matsoukas is currently on leave and “has been relieved of his responsibilities”.

The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) installed the camera in the Alan Seeger Natural Area parking lot in response to bags of hand sanitizer being stolen from the public bathrooms. The footage showed a man (later confirmed to be Matsoukas) wearing a ski mask, a North Face backpack, boots, and a wristwatch, and allegedly performing sexual acts on the dog. Additionally, he was seen using a silver iPad to record himself.

Two people who own private camps in the area provided rangers with images from their trail cameras of a naked man (again, later identified as Matsoukas) walking around the area wearing a North Face backpack. After obtaining a total of six images dating back to 2014, rangers spotted Matsoukas on one of the cameras and tracked him back to his car, a green Subaru Outback.

At Matsoukas’ home, authorities reportedly found several items from the April 13 video, as well as his pet collie matching the description of the dog from the footage. He appeared nervous and told investigators that he “did it to blow off steam”. He even reportedly begged them to shoot him, saying “What do I have to do to get you to shoot me; I need to die”.

Matsoukas’ attorney has not commented on the situation, and the professor is due in court for his preliminary hearing on July 19.