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Defense: Teacher accused of sex abuse 'did nothing more than Santa does'

Posted at 12:12 AM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 01:52:38-05

Defense attorneys representing a former Springboro gym teacher charged with 36 counts of gross sexual imposition tried and failed to have the case dismissed Tuesday.

According to attorney David Chicarelli, who represents 25-year-old defendant John Austin Hopkins, prosecutors cast an overly broad net when they accused Hopkins of molesting 28 first-grade students in his gym class.

“He did nothing more than Santa does when a child is hurt, upset or crying,” Chicarelli said. “They’re throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what will stick. The court should review the video.”

Chicarelli claims video recordings of the gym at Springboro Elementary do not support prosecutors’ allegations he touched the girls inappropriately by placing them on his lap and putting his hands up their shorts and shirts.

He also claims prosecutors have deliberately created confusion by listing over 200 hours of video recordings as evidence. It’s too much to pore over, he said — they should name specific instances at specific times.

“If that’s their issue, we’re happy to sit down with them and say, ‘That’s the kid,’” a state prosecutor responded n court.

The prosecutor added the alleged behavior is more serious than putting children on his lap. According to the prosecution, Hopkins grabbed one child’s buttocks while she stood between his open legs and lay on top of another one on a gym floor.

Hopkins’ trial will begin in March.