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A former assistant geography professor at a Louisiana university sometimes used his students as subjects to satisfy his fetish for clowns and posted about it on a regular basis through different outlets on the internet.

Joseph Tokosh, who resigned from Nicholls State University after his behavior was exposed in March by student journalists, reportedly interacted with students and shared his experiences with the subjects on an array of social media platforms and other digital platforms, including Facebook, Reddit and YouTube.

Highlighted in a Thursday report by USA Today, Tokosh, in a post to a Reddit forum meant for sharing unbelievable stories, shared photos of several women wearing white face paint.

In another post shared to Reddit, Tokosh, under the username Joeography, wrote, “I have a facepaint fetish and convince the cute girls in my classes to let me paint their faces.” Other posts on the forum mention a “clown fetish.”


mug shot for Joseph Tokosh

Joseph Tokosh, a former assistant geography professor at Nicholls State University, reportedly offered extra credit to students to have their faces painted to satisfy his “clown fetish.” (Nicholls State University)

Prior to his resignation from the university, several students had reported Tokosh to campus police and voiced their complaints about the matter online.

Sally-Anne Torres, the then-managing editor for the Nicholls Worth, the student-run news organization for the campus, exposed Tokosh’s behavior earlier this year. According to the report, six students expressed how Tokosh would offer them bonus points if they allowed him to paint their faces.

Bradley Price, an online student at the university, took part in Tokosh’s Geography of East Asia class and was subjected to a required assignment in which students had to take photos of themselves getting their face painted.

“You had to send in multiple pictures of how you did it from multiple angles and also write down the process of it,” Price said, according to USA Today. “The relevancy he gave it was that it was a Japanese style of makeup; it was for students to get a better understanding of their culture.”


Price completed the assignment, allowing one of his female friends to paint his face. Upon completion, and after the assignment was submitted, Tokosh commented on the work and said that Price would receive bonus points if he could convince his female friend “to do her own look on herself.”

Price initially believed the comment was strange, but after learning of Tokosh’s true intent, the allegations made against him and seeing the professor’s digital platform accounts, the student expressed frustration.

“I feel frankly disgusted and disappointed that Nicholls couldn’t do a proper background check on this professor because this is unacceptable,” Price said. “How could this have got past any reasonable check?”

woman getting a face painting

A royal family fan has her face painted at De Montfort University on March 8, 2012, in Leicester, England. (Oli Scarff / Getty Images)

Tokosh has been employed by other universities, including Kent State University, where he displayed similar behavior prior to his arrival at Nicholls. But that behavior, even with a police report on file, went unnoticed.


“Tokosh’s career trajectory exposes inadequacies in the background check system that colleges and universities are supposed to have in place to protect students – especially when evidence of the concerning behavior resides largely on the internet,” the outlet noted. “Nicholls State, for example, told USA Today Network reporters it does not routinely check social media for new hires.”

Sophie Levan, an 18-year-old freshman at Kent State in 2017, told USA Today she encountered Tokosh, then 28, through a Facebook group intended to be used by new students as a gathering place. Tokosh made a cash offer for anyone willing to let him paint their faces, and Levan agreed.

Tokosh, according to Levan, insisted that he would pick her up and take her to the university building that housed the geography department, where he said he would paint her face. Uncertain about the situation, Levan said she stopped communicating with Tokosh and that he became disgruntled and wouldn’t leave her alone. Concerned, Levan filed a police report.

“I felt like the school would want to know about it,” Levan said, according to the outlet. “I thought maybe they could prevent anything bad from happening since other girls would go with him.”

woman putting on face paint

In a video interview with the student-run KNSU TV, Tokosh said the face-painting assignment was for students to “actually come up with their own face paint and makeup design inspired by a culture, and they implement it.” (Guang Niu / Getty Images / File)

Levan, however, said there was never a follow-up about the situation by campus police or anyone else.

In a video interview with the student-run KNSU TV, Tokosh said the face painting assignment was for students to “actually come up with their own face paint and makeup design inspired by a culture, and they implement it.”

In addition to Levan, the outlet noted that “the other person who reported Tokosh to campus police could not be reached for comment” and that the two others “who expressed public concerns on social media told USA Today they never heard from their campus officials either.”


Tokosh, according to the report, left Kent University in 2017 after pleading no contest to a theft charge that involved entering his peers’ offices without permission and taking a USB drive.

“Nicholls State University is proud that our student journalists brought this situation to light,” a Nicholls State University spokesperson told Fox News Digital in a statement. “We take the safety and security of our student population very seriously. Once this was brought to the university’s attention, we acted appropriately to remove Joseph Tokosh from the classroom and did not renew his contract. He is no longer affiliated with Nicholls State University.”

Kyle Morris covers politics for Fox News. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @RealKyleMorris.

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