SPRINGBORO, Ohio (FOX19) - The trial of a former Springboro physical education teacher is expected to begin Monday.
John Austin Hopkins was indicted in June 2019 on 36 counts of gross sexual imposition.
Hopkins, who was 25 at the time, was captured on surveillance video between December 2018 and March 2019 having inappropriate physical contact with 88 first grade girls, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
At the time of the incidents, Hopkins was working as a physical education teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate schools.
Though he is accused of touching 88 first graders inappropriately, a grand jury only returned an indictment for 28 students.
Fornshell did not elaborate on the reason the grand jury only returned indictments for 28 of the students but said it may have been due to the way each of the girls was touched.
Hopkins is accused of showing several movies in a dark room to the girls in PE class.
“In a lot of the videos, the room is dark and he’ll motion the girls over to the side,” Angela Wallace, attorney for alleged victim’s families, said.
Hopkins’ attorney, David Allen Chicarelli, said in court late last year “the defendant has nothing more than any Santa Claus would do when a small child sits on their lap, especially if they are upset, crying or disturbed,” according to the Dayton Daily News.
The date for the civil trial hasn’t been scheduled, but Wallace says they are pushing for Springboro schools to make changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“There was obviously video surveillance of the gym but no one was watching it, so the school had 90 days of criminal conduct on video right under their nose and no one found out about it until a parent called and asked questions. There are some very easy changes the school could put in place to protect these children moving forward," Wallace said.
Hopkins was put on administrative leave on March 8, 2019, when the school district began investigating the allegations. He resigned on March 12.