I-Team: Prosecution admits there was a mistake in Austin Hopkins Sentence

WARREN COUNTY — The prosecution and the defense on a Warren County case agree, Austin Hopkins should get a new sentence.

He is the former Clearcreek Elementary School gym teacher who sexually abused dozens of first grade girls in his gym class. In June, a judge gave him an eight year prison sentence.

Hopkins' attorney, William Oswall, said the court messed up.

In an appeal, filed September 2nd, he said the prosecutor in his client’s case said Hopkins' prison sentence for his conviction was mandatory. Oswall argues, it was not.

“Had the trial court been aware that community control was an option, it could have at least been considered it, for some portion, if not all, of the prison sentence. In this case, it was clearly not even considered,” Oswall said in the appeal.

In an October interview, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell told the I-Team’s Molly Koweek, that there was no mistake.

However, in his Monday reply to Oswall’s appeal, he said the opposite.

While he did not fully agree a judge sentenced Hopkins' under the impression the sentence was mandatory, he acknowledged Hopkins was not subject to a mandatory sentence.

“Thus, the State must regrettably concede that the court’s designation of his sentence as mandatory was error,” Fornshell said in his reply.

The document went on to say Hopkins should get a new sentence to correct this issue.

In October, he said if Hopkins to were to get a new punishment, the judge should make it longer.