Springboro ex-teacher’s lawyers want 4 months of school surveillance video

Accused’s mother reassigned during son’s investigation in Springboro.

Lawyers defending a former Springboro teacher facing 36 gross sexual imposition charges involving 28 of his first-grade female students want all the surveillance video recorded between Dec. 1, 2018, and March 31, 2019, at Clearcreek Elementary School, according to a motion filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

“Not just the videos that relate to the allegations in the case,” David Anthony Chicarelli and David Allen Chicarelli said in a motion filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

“It appears that there may be a claim of 88 victims and all interviews, correspondence video and audio interviews are requested and demanded,” the father-and-son defense team added in the demand for discovery, filed on July 1.

They are defending John Austin Hopkins, 25, of Springboro, who was released on house arrest after his mother, Lisa Hopkins, a long-time teacher in the Springboro Community City Schools, posted his bail on June 20, according to court records.

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On Monday, school officials confirmed that while the case was under investigation by Springboro police — but had yet to be presented to a grand jury for consideration of charges — his mother was reassigned, effective next year.

“Lisa Hopkins had an assignment change in April 2019 that is to take effect for the 2019-2020 school year. Lisa Hopkins will be teaching fifth grade at Dennis Elementary starting this school year, 2019-2020,” Scott Marshall, district communications coordinator, said in an email response to questions.

Lisa Hopkins had taught second grade at Dennis Elementary since 2015 and has been employed with Springboro since 1990, the district said.

In response to further questions, Marshall indicated the reassignment was not voluntary and that she had not appealed it.

“In an effort to respect the sensitivity of those first-grade students and families affected by the allegations against Mr. Hopkins, Lisa Hopkins had an assignment change from second grade to fifth grade at Dennis Elementary,” Marshall said.

Lisa Hopkins could not be reached for comment Monday.

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The discovery motion, a standard step in criminal cases, also demands statements and summaries of statements made by her son, a list of witnesses and their prior records, evidence, including “any books, papers, documents, photographs, recordings, tangible objects or copies thereof” that would help in the defense, are intended for use by prosecutors.

Her son, known as Austin Hopkins, is on electronic monitor while on house arrest at his parents’ home.

He was in his first year as a full-time teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate schools. He resigned on March 12.

On March 19, Springboro Police Chief Jeff Kruithoff said more than 500 work hours had been devoted to watching “video of Mr. Hopkins classroom and work area.”

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After Austin Hopkins’ arraignment in Warren County Common Pleas Court, the elder, David Allen Chicarelli, noted the voluminous evidence he expected to review in the case. He indicated a specialist might be retained to review the videos and forensic interviews.

Chicarelli did not respond to calls Monday.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell indicated he didn’t comment on “discovery issues.”

On Aug. 20, Austin Hopkins and lawyers on both sides of the case are scheduled to return to the court in Lebanon for a pretrial and scheduling conference with Judge Robert Peeler.

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