Sunday, May 20, 2018
Public safety

Police: Clearwater man accused of bestiality worked at Humane Society

CLEARWATER — A Clearwater man arrested Tuesday for possessing child pornography and having sex with his girlfriend's dog worked at the Humane Society of Pinellas, where his girlfriend is the society's medical director, authorities said Wednesday.

Eric Antunes, 29, is the live-in boyfriend of Pinellas Humane Society medical director Katerina Williamson, according to police.

Clearwater Public Communications Director Joelle Castelli said police do not have evidence that Williamson was aware Antunes was taking photos of himself engaged in sex acts with her pit-bull mix.

"We cannot prove that she had any knowledge of this going on," Castelli said. "My understanding is that she did not know it was happening, and we showed her pictures."

Pinellas County voting records say that as of January, Williamson's home address was 2893 St. John Drive — the same house identified as Antunes' residence by Clearwater police.

Williamson declined to comment on her relationship to Antunes or the charges against him when approached by a reporter at the house Wednesday.

Standing in her doorway, she said over the din of barking dogs that Antunes' lawyer, Deborah Moss, "told me not to say anything." Moss did not return calls Wednesday night.

Antunes was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of possessing child pornography. He was being held at the Pinellas County Jail.

An additional misdemeanor animal cruelty charge was referred to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.

Humane Society director of development Twila Cole said Wednesday that Antunes was employed on a limited basis as a contract worker at the Clearwater shelter, which takes in neglected or surrendered animals and offers them for adoption. She said he worked primarily in maintenance, and when he had access to animals, other people were present.

"He was never on the property working unsupervised," Cole said.

But Mike Eagle, who worked with dogs at the group's shelter until February, said Antunes was in charge of the Humane Society's medical kennels, which involved caring for and walking dogs that had been abused.

He worked in that role for several months last fall, according to Eagle, who also confirmed that Antunes was Williamson's boyfriend.

"He was strange," Eagle recalled. "He didn't really talk to anyone. It was him and Katerina — they only talked between the two of them."

Even so, Eagle said he would not have anticipated that his former co-worker would be accused of sex acts with a dog.

"That is sick," Eagle said. "I didn't see anything like that."

Cole denied that Antunes was in charge of the medical kennels.

Clearwater police began investigating Antunes after getting a tip that he possessed child pornography. He admitted to downloading and watching the pornography on his home computer, police said.

A search of the computer yielded nine explicit photos and one explicit video depicting children, detectives said.

A check of Antunes' cell phone then revealed "several images of bestiality" involving Antunes and Williamson's dog, police said.

Castelli said a follow-up police inspection at the home showed Williamson's dog was well-fed and in good health. Police said they will refer the case to Pinellas County Animal Services for follow-up on the animal's welfare.

Peter Jamison can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4157.

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