John Austin Hopkins, a 25-year-old former gym teacher, reportedly inappropriately touched at least 28 first-grade girls while working at an Ohio elementary school.
What are the details?
Warren County prosecutor David Fornshell revealed that Hopkins would often grab the girls’ backsides and position them on his lap during class, WLWT-TV reported.
Hopkins was indicted on Monday on 36 counts of gross sexual imposition after a three-month investigation, the station said.
The investigation kicked off after a parent reported him to administrators at Clearcreek Elementary School in Springboro, Ohio. Hopkins resigned from his position in March after the school placed him on administrative leave, WLWT reported.
Prosecutors also say that at least 88 first-grade girls physically interacted with Hopkins between the months of December and March, the station said..
Of Hopkins, Fornshell said, “Frankly, [the students] loved him as a teacher because of the amount of affection he was showing them. What these kids didn’t realize, this was completely inappropriate and criminal.”
Fornshell said that video footage caught Hopkins with many of the young girls on his lap or straddling him in a “sexual manner,” according to WLWT.
That’s not all.
“With respect to some of the girls, his hands are going up their shirts, both the front side and back sides of their shirts, reaching up under the skirt, grabbing their buttocks,” Fornshell explained. “That’s really what we saw mostly with respect to these interactions.”
Authorities took Hopkins into custody on Monday. His arraignment had not yet been scheduled at the time of this writing. If convicted on his charges, he faces up to five years in prison.
In a statement, Springboro Schools said:
On Friday, March 8th, 2019, within minutes of learning of the potential conduct of Mr. Hopkins, Springboro Schools immediately placed John Austin Hopkins on Paid Administrative Leave. On March 12th, 2019, Mr. Hopkins submitted a letter of resignation, which was approved by the district’s Board of Education at a special board meeting held March 13th, 2019. Mr. Hopkins is no longer an employee of Springboro Schools.
Shortly after Mr. Hopkins resigned, Springboro Schools submitted an Educator Misconduct Reporting Form to the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Office of Professional Misconduct, regarding the Ohio Revised Code 3319.31, which states, “The employee resigned because of, or in the course of, an investigation regarding an act unbecoming the teaching profession.” The purpose of this submission by Springboro Schools is for ODE to consider revocation of Mr. Hopkins’ teaching license.
A series of seven (7) letters and several voice calls have been distributed to the parents of Springboro Schools throughout the course of the entire investigation process. Springboro Schools takes the allegations against Mr. Hopkins very seriously, and will continue working with the Springboro Police Department and the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office throughout this process.
For many families in our district, these are difficult times. Communication outreach and support is important. The dialogue between our district parents and administration is paramount, as is the safety of every student in our district. The Child Advocacy Center of Warren County (CAC) is offering a support/educational group for parents. This support group is located at the Child Advocacy Center of Warren County (320 E Silver St, Lebanon, OH 45036) and can be contacted at the following number, 513-695-3100.