Written By: Ishton W. Morton – June 21st, 2019
On Thursday, June 20th 2019 former Springboro gym teacher 25 years John Austin Hopkins accused of 36 counts of gross sexual imposition against 28 first graders made his first appearance in a Warren County courtroom. Allegedly, ex-gym teacher played movies in class, ask students to sit on lap before molesting them.
According to Warren County Prosecutors they have security footage from Clearcreek Elementary School’s gymnasium of Hopkins inappropriately touching 28 first graders for a total of 36 times for his sexual gratification.
Subsequently, David Anthony Chicarelli defense attorney for Hopkins argued vigorously for a low bond.
Chicarelli said; “He has no record at all. He has been part of this community his entire life. Even when he was getting his bachelor’s and his master’s degree, he never ventured out of this area more than an hour,” “His entire family, they’re educators across the board.”
Responsively, Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Hardman said he was concerned for the safety of the community and asked that his bond be set at $500,000.
In retrospect, Judge Robert Peeler sided with prosecutors but said Hopkins is allowed to post 10 percent. Additionally, if and when Hopkins’ bond is posted bond, he will be place under house arrest.
Chicarelli attorney for the defense continues to argue; “That’s absurd. He’s going to be on house arrest with a GPS monitor. If he violates one issue of house arrest, he’s going to be put back in jail. He’s going to be at his parents’ home and he’s not leaving, so that argument that he’s a danger to other people in the community, I’m sorry, is absurd,”
Also, Chicarelli’s father, David Chicarelli, said his client is not a threat to the community and entered a not guilty plea on Hopkins’ behalf.
Chicarelli is extremely unyielding. He said; “He totally denies this! We don’t know what’s on the video. He’s presumed innocent, and these videos that they say they have, I assume are videos from up in a ceiling, and I don’t know how clear they are.”
Predicated on WLWT5 News Bite, during Hopkins’ arraignment approximately 30 or so parents of the alleged victims were in attendance in the courtroom’s gallery. Also, sitting opposite of the victims’ parents were just as many friends and family members in support of Hopkins.
According to Angela Wallace a representative the victims’ families who have not seen the videos said she have heard and seen what was shown.
Wallace continued to say; “In a lot of the videos, the room is dark. There’s a screen down and the children are watching the videos, and then he’ll motion one little girl over to the side and begin with the child sitting on his lap and things progress from there, touching in obviously inappropriate places, rubbing, those sorts of things.”
Nonetheless, although there Wallace seems to have doubts about the entire thing. She still believes there could be more victims. Her presupposition is based on prosecutors saying since the school’s security camera system is only on a 90-day loop, they just do not have footage prior to December. Regardless of the outcome this entire matter is extremely saddened!
Reportedly Hopkins resigned in March of 2019 after they embark on an investigation. Moreover Wallace said, this all started after parents commenced asking their first-grade daughter; how school was today? It is always a good thing for parents to be involved in their child or children’s life.