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Jury finds former Clearcreek gym teacher guilty on 34 counts of gross sexual imposition

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Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 23:45:19-04

LEBANON, Ohio — A jury found former Clearcreek Elemenrary School gym teacher John Austin Hopkins guilty on 34 counts of gross sexual imposition Friday night.

After nearly 11 hours of deliberation that started Friday morning, the jury found 25-year-old Hopkins guilty on all but two counts. Hopkins stood accused of sexually abusing first grade girls in his gym class from December 2018 to March 2019.

One of the last things jurors heard in the trial came from Dr. Fred Peterson, a clinical psychologist the defense called to tell jurors Hopkins lives with high-functioning autism.

Prosecutors used his sexual health report to point out the tests found "Hopkins acknowledges some type of sexual behavior occurred. His results suggest he has numerous sexual 'thinking errors' which he uses to help him explain the sexual behavior that occurred.”

The report also found, “If treatment is considered, this would be an area of concern as his explanations keep him from accepting full responsibility for his actions.”

Prosecutors pointed out the report also determined Hopkins has a sexual attraction to little girls, ages 6 to 7, matching the age of the alleged victims in this case.

Hopkins was taken into custody pending a sentencing hearing.

Springboro Schools supported the jury’s verdict "in full," the district's interim superintendent Carrie Hester said in a statement late Friday.

"Protecting the safety of Springboro Schools’ students is the district’s highest priority," Hester said. "Within minutes of first hearing about the misconduct, Mr. Hopkins was immediately removed from Clearcreek Elementary and placed on Administrative Leave. Soon after, the Board of Education unanimously accepted Mr. Hopkins’ resignation. Now, one year later, justice has finally been served."

More on this trial:

WCPO will update this story.