John Austin Hopkins, the former Springboro elementary school teacher facing 36 gross sexual imposition charges involving his former students, will not celebrate the holidays with the children in his family.
Hopkins, 25, of Springboro, faces three dozen charges related to 28 girls in his first-grade gym class at Clearcreek Elementary School.
He is on electronic monitor while on house arrest at his parents’ home. He is not allowed to be around children.
On Tuesday, his lawyers asked Judge Robert Peeler to allow Hopkins to be around 12 children in his family during holiday events.
“This order will not be modified. Other arrangements will have to be made,” Peeler said during the hearing.
Assistant County Prosecutor Kevin Hardman said he wanted Hopkins prohibited from being around children “irregardless of who those minors are.”
The younger lawyer David A. Chicarelli urged Peeler to make an exception for family during the holidays. Father and son Chicarellis are representing Hopkins.
“My client doesn’t pose a danger to those children,” Chicarelli said. “There will be constant supervision.”
Peeler said he made his decision out of “an abundance of caution” to ensure the safety of children.
Hopkins will be allowed to travel to meet with experts in advance of the trial, scheduled for the week of Jan. 13.
The charges involve 28 of 88 girls who authorities determined had “sufficiently questionable” interactions with Hopkins in more than 100 incidents.
Hopkins was in his first year as a full-time teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate schools. He resigned on March 12 after being placed on leave by the school district after a complaint was made.
Springboro Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff said more than 500 work hours were devoted to watching “video of Mr. Hopkins classroom and work area” during an investigation preceding the June indictment.
In August, the lawyers and judge agreed on handling of the surveillance video. On Tuesday, Assistant County Prosecutor Kevin Hardman said the office was nearly finished with a set of the surveillance videos with start and stop times.
Once again, supporters of Hopkins and the prosecution filled many of the seats behind them in the court gallery.
In September, parents of 22 Springboro elementary school students filed a lawsuit claiming the school district and its leaders failed to protect the children from a former teacher accused of sexually abusing them in class.
Hopkins is also named in the federal lawsuit filed in Cincinnati. The Chicarellis filed a answer urging the federal court to dismiss the lawsuit ” in its entirety” and a motion on Oct. 11 to delay Hopkins’ participation in the lawsuit until the criminal case is concluded.
“Any testimony that Hopkins may give in this civil action could be used against him in his criminal case. Accordingly, Hopkins reasonably is at risk of self-incrimination if he participates in discovery in this civil case until his criminal trial has been resolved,” according to the motion.
Lawyers for the school district, Principal Carrie Corder and former Superintendent Dan Schroer urged dismissal of claims against the school district, Schroer and Corder in a motion filed Tuesday in the federal case.
In the criminal case, a final pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 10.
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