The families of 28 first graders at Clearcreek Elementary School in Springboro have hired an attorney to take possible legal action against the district over suspected sexual abuse at the school. Former gym teacher John "Austin" Hopkins was indicted this week on 36 charges of Gross Sexual Imposition. The charges involve young girls in his class who he is accused of groping.
An attorney representing the families tells Newsradio 700WLW's Scott Sloan that it was one of her clients that first alerted the district of the inappropriate behavior. Angela Wallace says the parents became concerned after their daughter told them she had a "great day at school" because it was her day to sit on her teachers lap. Wallace says initially no one from Clearcreek Elementary called them back but eventually they spoke to the principal and the criminal investigation was launched.
As part of the investigation that led to the indictments, police reviewed 90 days worth of surveillance video from the gym where Hopkins held classes. Wallace says the video shows he would routinely show movies to the class and then invite one of the 1st graders to sit on his lap. The attorney for the victims say the video clearly shows him rubbing up against the girls and putting his hands under their shirts and skirts.
Wallace says it is "extremely concerning that the school did not know that this was going on" and believes the inappropriate behavior could have been stopped long before it was. While she says the video only goes back 90 days, Wallace is convinced that the abuse had been occurring long before that when Hopkins was employed as only a substitute teacher.
The attorney says her clients are not seeking a big pay day, they just want to make sure that proper precautions are being taken to prevent anything like this from happening again. Wallace says the victims are suffering greatly because of the gym teachers behavior. On Newsradio 700WLW, Wallace said "the thought that these little girls could be victimized by a teacher in their school is horrific."