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Published: Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 2:36 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 20, 2019 @ 4:56 PM
LEBANON — UPDATE @ 4:56 p.m.:
An attorney for a former physical education teacher accused of gross sexual imposition involving first-grade girls said his client has done nothing wrong.
John Austin Hopkins was arraigned on 36 counts of GSI today, with his attorney entering a plea of not guilty on his behalf.
“He totally denies this,” said David Chicarelli.
However, prosecutors said that Hopkins sexually abused more than two dozen young girls and that there is video to prove it.
“There is no question what is happening in those videos,” Angela Wallace, an attorney for some of the alleged victims, said.
Chicarelli said he doesn’t know what’s on the video, but that Hopkins is presumed innocent.
“These videos that they say they have I assume are from a camera up in the ceiling and I don’t know how clear they are,” he said.
Wallace painted a clear picture on this case came to be.
“The parents asked how that child’s day was and she said, ‘It was a great day today. It was finally my turn to sit on Mr. Hopkins lap,’” she said.
UPDATE @ 2:15 p.m.:
The former Springboro teacher facing 36 charges of gross sexual imposition involving girls in his first-grade class was arraigned and bond was set at $500,000 today in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
Austin Hopkins is now appearing before a judge in handcuffs. pic.twitter.com/9wJ8ZehrtU— Molly Koweek (@MKoweekWHIO) June 20, 2019
John Austin Hopkins, 25, of Springboro, was indicted on 36 counts of gross sexual imposition involving more than two dozen girls younger than 13 years old in his class at Clearcreek Elementary School in Springboro.
The charges stem from a grand jury review of Hopkins’ “sufficiently questionable” touching of 88 girls in more than 100 incidents and was triggered by a complaint to school officials in March, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
On Monday, Fornshell said his office realized “this was going to be bigger than anything we’ve ever handled, in terms of potential victims.”
Also Thursday, Ed Perry, the defense lawyer appointed on the case, was replaced by David Anthony Chicarelli, son of a long-time local lawyer, David Allen Chicarelli, with whom he now shares an office in Franklin.
In their filings, the Chicarellis indicated Perry withdrew due to a conflict of interest in his law firm, Rittgers & Rittgers.
The arraignment of John Austin Hopkins, the former Springboro teacher indicted Monday on charges accusing him of gross sexual imposition of 28 female first-grade students will take place today.
Hopkins, 25, of Springboro is scheduled for arraignment by Judge Robert Peeler at 2 p.m.
Hopkins was scheduled for arraignment on July 5 by Magistrate Andrew Hasselbach with some of the other people named in a list of indictments released Monday by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.
On Tuesday, the hearing, in which Hopkins’ bail is likely to be set, was rescheduled for today and assigned to Peeler, the judge in the case. Hopkins is represented by Ed Perry, a lawyer in the Rittgers & Rittgers firm.