Former Ohio PE teacher accused of inappropriately touching 88 first graders

A Warren County grand jury returned an indictment on 36 counts related to John Hopkins’ contact with 28 of the 88 students, prosecutor David Fornshell says. (Credit: Warren County Jail)

LEBANON,Ohio. (WOIO) -- A former Springboro physical education teacher faces a 36-count indictment on gross sexual imposition charges, Warren County Prosecutor Dave Fornshell announced Monday.

Fornshell says John Austin Hopkins, 25, of Springboro was captured on surveillance video having inappropriate physical contact with 88 first grade girls.

At the time of the incidents, Hopkins was employed by the Springboro Community City Schools as a physical education teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate, Fornshell says.

Fornshell says his office called a special session to present all 88 video-taped incidents to a grand jury. The grand jury then returned an indictment on 36 counts related to Hopkins’ contact with 28 of the students.

The prosecutor did not elaborate on the reason the grand jury only returned indictments for 28 of the 88 students, but said it may have been due to the way each of the girls was touched.

He says it was up to the grand jury to determine what was inappropriate contact and what was criminal contact.

The video surveillance was captured between December 2018 and March 2019 in the Clearcreek elementary school gymnasium.

Fornshell says the contact with the girls happened in front of the entire class.

He also elaborated that in one instance, Hopkins told one of the girls that they would be married when she was older and created a culture in which the girls were competing for his affections because they did not understand what was happening.

The prosecutor said that in some cases, the assault is worse for the parents of the girls because they comprehend what has happened, but the girls are too young.

He said it serves as an unfortunate lesson in teaching children about what is and isn’t okay in regards to their physical safety.

Hopkins taught first and sixth grade at both Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate over the past school year. Before that, he was a substitute teacher in the school district.

Fornshell says that though both boys and girls were present in the gym at the time the sexual contact happened, Hopkins only touched the girls.

Hopkins did not have contact with older students as far as Springboro police are aware, Fornshell says.

He was put on administrative leave in March when the school district began investigating allegations of possible misconduct, school officials said at the time.

He quit just days later.

According to The Blessing Law Firm, a victim in this case has sought legal help.

No arraignment has been set as of yet.

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