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Springboro schools’ insurer releases settlement amounts in child sex abuse case

Insurance carrier is paying $3.5 million to settle lawsuits against schools and school officials; Hopkins still jailed
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Posted at 12:05 PM, Sep 19, 2023

SPRINGBORO, Ohio — The Springboro school district’s insurance carrier, Liberty Mutual Insurance/Netherlands Insurance Company, has released the settlement amounts to the parents of 32 students who were sexually abused by a first-year gym teacher from December 2018 to March 2019.

The proffered settlement amount released by the insurance company via the school district was $3.5 million total, according to settlement agreements obtained by the Dayton Daily News.

Nearly every student received a settlement of $109,576, which after attorney fees and lawsuit expenses, was reduced to $71,576 per child, according to the settlement agreements.

Scott Marshall, district spokesman said, “The district has had no out-of-pocket expenses for this claim. The settlement sum amount, which is an agreed upon amount by Liberty Mutual Insurance/Netherlands Insurance Company and the claimants, is not an out-of-pocket, district expense for Springboro Schools.”

The Dayton Daily News reported the settlement agreements in mid-June, but the insurance companies declined to release the settlement amounts until Monday (Sept. 18). The Springboro Board of Education approved the settlement agreements in June but said they were not permitted to release the financial specifics.

In the settlement agreements, the parents are to be the custodians of the net amount of the funds received until their child reaches age 18.

The amounts settled two federal class-action suits against the Springboro Schools as well as releasing former Superintendent Daniel Schroer, and current Clearcreek Elementary School Principal Carrie Corder.

The settlement agreement does not release the former gym teacher John Austin Hopkins from civil claims. Hopkins was convicted in June 2020 of 34 of 36 counts of gross sexual imposition, involving 27 of the 28 alleged victims, all first-grade girls. Hopkins was sentenced to eight years in prison and designated as a Tier II sexual offender.

After Hopkins is released, he will be required to register his address every six months with his local sheriff’s office for 25 years.

After working a year as a long-term substitute for the 2017-18 school year, Hopkins was hired full-time as a gym teacher at Clearcreek Elementary and Springboro Intermediate schools for 2018-2019. His resignation was accepted by Springboro schools on March 19, 2019, according to court documents.

The settlement agreement also includes a number of improvements to protect children that have been completed or have been agreed to by the district. Among those improvements are:

  • Converting the security camera system from a closed circuit television video system to a web-based viewing system. This allows real-time surveillance monitoring by the School Resource Officer, all secretaries and building administrators.
  • Prohibiting doorbells from being installed outside of any building classrooms.
  • Prohibiting the covering of interior classroom windows with decorations, fabric and/or curtains.
  • Mandating all staff to attend in-person training on topics of sexual harassment, abuse prevention and awareness.
  • Having all students, K-12, receive annual training and exposure to curriculum addressing good-touch/bad-touch and how to report any concerns related to such issues.
Prosecutor: Springboro PE teacher sexually abused, groomed 28 girls