John Austin Hopkins, 26, of Springboro listens as he is sentenced to eight years in prison on 34 counts of gross sexual imposition on first-grade girls in his gym class at Clearcreek Elementary School. LAWRENCE BUDD / STAFF

Ex-Springboro gym teacher gets 8 years in prison

Prosecutors called for a minimum of 27 years in prison for a former Springboro elementary school gym teacher convicted of 34 counts of gross sexual imposition involving first-grade girls in his class.

Hopkins, 26, of Springboro, was convicted in March.

>> RELATED: Ex-Springboro teacher sentencing Wednesday on sex crimes

Families gave victim statements Wednesday ahead of the sentencing.

Clear barriers could be seen between the prosecution and defense due to the coronavirus pandemic. The court also has limited seating to prevent the spread of the virus.

One of the people in the court room was wearing a “Justice for 88” shirt. There were 88 girls seen on video that had physical interaction with Hopkins. Charges filed against him involved 28 students. 

Judge Robert Peeler this week denied a motion for a new trial.

We will provide live updates during the sentencing.

Prosecutors have called for a significant prison term, while Hopkins’ lawyers want the judge to approve treatment and counseling.

>> RELATED: Ex-Springboro teacher to be sentenced on 34 child-sex charges wants mistrial

A first-grade girl told her parents how happy she was to finally get a chance to sit on Hopkins’ lap, and that sparked the investigation, which lasted months.

Hours of school surveillance video helped lead to charges that Hopkins touched 28 girls during gym class at Clearcreek Elementary School from December 2018 to March 2019.

Ahead of sentencing, Peeler said it was a difficult and emotional case, and he cautioned against any courtroom outbursts, which followed his conviction.

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>> Ex-Springboro gym teacher guilty on 34 charges of gross sexual imposition with first-grade girls

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>> Autism part of defense for ex-Springboro gym teacher facing 36 sex charges

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