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Wednesday, December 01, 2021
METRO  |  CRIME

UF professor arrested Friday afternoon for discreetly filming students

This story has been updated to reflect new information. The original story is at the bottom of the page.

University Police arrested a UF College of Veterinary Medicine professor Friday afternoon after he reportedly used a video camera disguised as a pen to view and record students’ bodies.

Don A. Samuelson, 65, was arrested on charges of video voyeurism, according to a University Police report.  

Samuelson has been on administrative leave since a Sept. 6 search of his office, said UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes. 

Because the investigation is still ongoing, she could not speak about further consequences for Samuelson. However, she said “in a case with these kinds of serious allegations, we would pursue termination.”

The arrest report described four incidences in which Samuelson used the video pen. In the first two — which happened in mid-April — he used it to film the area between a student’s chest and his or her V-neck shirt.

During the third incident in early June, Samuelson used the device to film a part of a student’s chest normally covered by a shirt. In late August, Samuelson used the pen to film in between a student’s thighs, according to the report.

The camera pen, as well as a USB drive with several videos from the pen, were recovered during a search of Samuelson’s office on Sept. 6, according to the report. 

During questioning after the search, Samuelson told police the pen belonged to him. He also admitted to filming one of the students and said he was doing so to prove that he or she wasn’t wearing undergarments. He admitted his actions were “inappropriate,” according to the report.

Second-year veterinary student Casey Siljestrom said she was shocked by the allegations. She took histology — a class required of all first-year vet students — with Samuelson last year.

“We always just thought he was a really nice guy, a little bit boring but never threatening in any way,” the 23-year-old said. “I never felt uncomfortable around him.”

College of Veterinary Medicine Dean James Lloyd sent out an email reassuring students, faculty and staff that Samuelson’s classes will be covered temporarily and the college is working to transition any student projects previously under Samuelson’s supervision. The email also said the college is offering counseling and academic advising to students in need.

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“We are working to support anyone in our community affected by this situation, and in the coming days we will reach out to many of you to try to answer your questions and offer counseling and other resources,” the email read.

After about two weeks of sifting through evidence and conducting interviews, officers arrested Samuelson at his home Friday, said UPD spokesman Maj. Brad Barber.

Barber said one student came forward with the allegations, but detectives are still investigating to determine how many victims were involved.

Officers booked Samuelson into the Alachua County Jail at about 4:30 p.m. Friday. He was released later that evening after meeting bond.

UF professors arrested in the past include an anthropology professor who was jailed in 2009 after he admitted to trying to trade cocaine for sexual favors from another man, according to Alligator archives. Later that year, a department of pathology professor was arrested on charges of sexual assault, stalking, unarmed burglary and burglary with assault or battery. 

In the case of Samuelson, first-year veterinary student Rebecca Seiden, 22, said the incident was unfortunate. 

“However, it doesn’t reflect on the school as a whole whatsoever,” she said.

A version of this story ran on page 1 on 9/23/2013 under the headline "UF prof arrested for filming students"

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University Police arrested a UF College of Veterinary Medicine professor Friday after he reportedly used a video camera disguised as a pen to view students’ bodies.

Don A. Samuelson was arrested on charges of video voyeurism, according to a University Police report.

The report describe four incidences it which Samuelson used the video pen. In the first two — which happened in mid-April — he used it to film the area between a student’s chest and his or her v-neck shirt.

During the third in early June, Samuelson used the device to film a part of a student’s chest normally covered by a shirt.  

In late August, Samuelson used the pen to film in between a student’s thighs, according to the report.

The camera pen, as well as a USB drive with several videos from the pen, were recovered during a search of Samuelson’s office on Sept. 6, according to the report.

During questioning, Samuelson told police the pen belonged to him. He also admitted to filming one of the students and said he was doing so to prove that he or she wasn’t wearing undergarments. He admitted that his actions were “inappropriate,” according to the report.

Officers booked Samuelson into the Alachua County Jail at about 4:30 p.m. Friday.

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