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Who Is John Austin Hopkins? New Details On The Gym Teacher Accused Of Sexually Assaulting At Least 28 First Graders

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Who Is John Austin Hopkins? New Details On The Gym Teacher Accused Of Sexually Assaulting At Least 28 First Graders

An Ohio teacher is under arrest today after being charged with 36 counts of gross sexual imposition of a minor. He is accused of sexually abusing 28 first graders at Clearcreek Elementary school during the 2018-19 school year. John Austin Hopkins was placed on leave the day the investigation began and resigned shortly thereafter. He was arrested on June 17 and formally charged with the crimes that were discovered during a three-month investigation that included dozens of interviews with students. Prosecutors even found video proof of his actions on school surveillance footage.

Who is John Austin Hopkins? Here’s everything you need to know.

1. Teacher

NBC reports that Hopkins was a physical education teacher at Clearcreek Elementary School and Springboro Intermediate School in Ohio. He taught both sixth grade and first grade at both schools. He had been a substitute teacher prior to getting his teaching certification in July 2018. He was hired full time for the 2018-2019 school year. In addition, he was a swimming instructor with the local YMCA.

He taught at Sprinboro school sin Ohio.

2. Grooming

During the time that Hopkins taught students, he showed a great deal of affection to the girls he abused, a classic case of a predator grooming his victim, according to reporting from The Heavy. He was extremely popular and children reported liking him as a teacher but, it was not an appropriate sort of relationship. As Prosecutor David Fornshell said: "Frankly, they loved him as a teacher because of the amount of affection that he was showing them. What these kids didn’t realize was this was completely inappropriate and criminal. It was the felony conduct that he was engaging in. One of the little girls was convinced that he had told her they were going to be married when she got older.”

The video evidence is clear.

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3. Investigation

Hopkins has been under investigation since March of 2019, after a parent called the police to report inappropriate contact between Hopkins and a first-grade student according to WCPO news. The Springboro Police Department and the Warren County Prosecutor’s office spent months interviewing students and reviewing surveillance video of Hopkins while he was in the school. Forensic experts from the Child Advocacy Center for Warren County spoke with the children in the case. Investigators had identified 88 children who had been in contact with Hopkins who might have been abused. They ultimately determined that his behavior with 28 of the first-grade girls was criminal. The video evidence showed clearly what Hopkins had been doing with the kids and other students witnessed the interactions, as he did not take children out of the class; prosecutors told reporters at a press conference that the abuse happened “in open view of the other children."

Dozens of students were interviewed.

4. School response

Once the school district was made aware of the investigation against Hopkins, he was placed on paid administrative leave, reports Fox 19 news. The school issued a statement saying: “On Friday, March 8th, 2019, within minutes of learning of the potential conduct of Mr. Hopkins, Springboro Schools immediately placed John Austin Hopkins on Paid Administrative Leave. On March 12th, 2019, Mr. Hopkins submitted a letter of resignation, which was approved by the district’s Board of Education at a special board meeting held March 13th, 2019. Mr. Hopkins is no longer an employee of Springboro Schools. Shortly after Mr. Hopkins resigned, Springboro Schools submitted an Educator Misconduct Reporting Form to the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) Office of Professional Misconduct, regarding the Ohio Revised Code 3319.31, which states, 'The employee resigned because of, or in the course of, an investigation regarding an act unbecoming the teaching profession.' The purpose of this submission by Springboro Schools is for ODE to consider revocation of Mr. Hopkins’ teaching license.”

The school went on to detail efforts that had been made to communicate the situation with parents. They offered counseling services for students and their families saying “For many families in our district, these are difficult times. Communication outreach and support are important. The dialogue between our district parents and administration is paramount, as is the safety of every student in our district. The Child Advocacy Center of Warren County (CAC) is offering a support/educational group for parents. 

The school took the investigation very seriously.

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5. Charges

The Heavy reports that investigators had video evidence of Hopkins abusing the children in his class. Fornshell told reporters that they have video of Hopkins: “placing many of the girls on his lap, straddling him in what I would describe as a sexual manner. With respect to some of the girls, his hands are going up their shirts, both the front side and back sides of their shirts, reaching up under the skirt, grabbing their buttocks. That’s really what we saw mostly with respect to these types of interactions. It’s a gross sexual imposition count, it’s not a rape count. That demonstrates that we don’t have a situation where there was actual penetration of any of the first-graders, fortunately.” There are 36 separate charges of gross sexual imposition against 28 girls pending against Hopkins.

There are dozens of counts of abuse. 

No trial date has been announced at this time.

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.