SPRINGBORO — The trial against the former Springboro teacher facing 36 counts of gross sexual imposition on girls in his first-grade class has been delayed until March.
Judge Robert Peeler said he was continuing the trial, otherwise scheduled to begin next month, to avoid making an error that would result in a retrial.
“The last thing we want is to try this case more than once,” Peeler said.
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John Austin Hopkins, 25, of Springboro, faces three dozen charges related to 28 girls in his gym class at Clearcreek Elementary School in Springboro.
He is on an electronic monitor while on house arrest at his parents’ home. He is not allowed to be around children, including relatives during the holidays.
Peeler denied motions by Hopkins' lawyers to order prosecutors to turn over more evidence specifying which alleged victim is being portrayed in three hours of surveillance video from Hopkins’ classroom at Clearcreek Elementay School or to try separately the cases.
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Peeler also declined to intervene as requested by the elder lawyer David Chicarelli after someone photographed Hopkins and his family and gestured obscenely at the lawyer when he objected.
The incident follows a hail of criticism after the younger lawyer David Chicarelli, who also is defending Hopkins, posted a picture of himself on Santa’s lap the day after filing a motion suggesting Hopkins’ actions were “nothing more than any Santa Claus would do when a small child sits on their lap, especially if they are upset, crying or disturbed.”