LEBANON, Ohio (FOX19) - A former Warren County gym teacher was sentenced Wednesday for 34 counts of gross sexual imposition on first-grade girls who were his students.
Warren Count Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Peeler sentenced John Austin Hopkins, 26, to 96 months in prison and five years of probation. He must also register as a tier-two sex offender.
Each of his 34 counts of gross sexual imposition carried a potential five-year prison term.
Hopkins’ lawyers urged the judge to consider treatment and counseling because he has no prior record and is autistic.
Hopkins was accused last year of inappropriate contact with 28 students.
At the time, he worked as a physical education teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate schools.
When the allegations came to light, he was was immediately removed from Clearcreek Elementary and placed on administrative leave. The Board of Education then unanimously accepted his resignation.
During closing arguments of his trial, the prosecution said Hopkins was sexually gratified when he pulled the girls into his lap or held them between his legs.
The defense admitted his behavior was inappropriate but claimed Hopkins suffers from a form of autism that didn’t allow him to understand that the displays of affection were wrong.