WARREN COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Parents of the children allegedly abused by a former Tri-State PE teacher went on the stand Tuesday and Wednesday to describe in vivid detail their reactions when they discovered their children were involved.
John Austin Hopkins was indicted in June 2019 on 36 counts of gross sexual imposition.
Hopkins, who was 25 at the time, was reportedly captured on surveillance video between December 2018 and March 2019 having inappropriate physical contact with 88 first grade girls.
At the time of the incidents, Hopkins was working as a physical education teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate schools.
Springboro police called several parents in following the claims to have them watch more than 200 hours of surveillance video so they could identify their children.
On Tuesday, some of those parents, as well as Springboro school administrators, took to the stand to describe their emotions upon watching the videos.
In many cases, Hopkins’ hands are seen going underneath the girls’ clothing.
“Watching this happen to our child in a video and knowing that there was nowhere to go to stop it... it had happened... we were helpless," one parent said.
“There’s nothing we could do,” the parent continued. "We couldn’t run out of the room and stop what he was doing... tell him to leave her alone... tell him to get off of her... we couldn’t do any of that. We were completely helpless and enraged and just sickened.”
On Wednesday, one parent of the alleged victims described questioning her daughter about what happened after seeing video at the Springboro Police Department.
“'Did he put his hand up your shirt?'” The woman said, recalling words she spoke to her daughter. “'Because I know that he did, because I seen it.' And she said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Did he touch you anywhere else?’ She said, ‘Yes, down here.’”
In opening statements Monday, the defense conceded the touching did occur, but attempted to explain Hopkins’ behavior.
“This case is the story of a 25-year-old sexually naive, autistic virgin that has dedicated his entire life to the care and education of children,” Defense Attorney David Chicarelli said.
Hopkins’ attorneys begin their defense case Thursday.