John Austin Hopkins uttered a sigh of relief after Judge Robert Peeler revealed his final sentence. Hopkins, 26, was designated as a Tier II sex offender during his three-hour sentencing hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court. During the child molester’s sentencing, the victim impact statement from nine of his twenty-seven victims was read in court, and Judge Peeler said, “People are punishing themselves for what you have done to these children.”
In addition, Hopkins had several family members come to his defense during the sentencing hearing. These seven people begged Judge Peeler to go easy on the serial child molester. Peeler said these seven family members of the accused were all “in denial.”
Judge Peeler understood that Hopkins was not charged with raping any of his small female victims. However, he was caught on a surveillance camera molesting the little girls, and graphic details of Hopkins’ “arousal” were depicted in those shocking video clips.
“We saw it,” the judge said. “I saw your erection numerous times.”
The jury deliberated on Hopkins’s case for eleven hours on March 13, 2022. When they were finished, the jury agreed that the former teacher was guilty of 34 of 36 counts of gross sexual imposition involving 27 of the 28 alleged victims. However, parents of the victims called on law enforcement and the justice system to get “Justice of the eight-eight,” which was the slogan that came about after a lengthy investigation that showed that Hopkins likely had eighty-eight victims throughout his tenure as a child molester.
“My family stands with all 88,” one father said in his statement.
Hopkins became the subject of a large child molestation investigation after one little girl came home in March 2019 and told her parents that she was happy that she finally got the chance to sit on Hopkins’s lap during class. When the cops got involved, they scoured hours of surveillance footage and identified at least twenty-eight instances when Hopkins inappropriately touched little girls in his class between December 2018 and March 2019. He was teaching a first-grade gym class at Clearcreek Elementary School in Iowa.
Parents learned that the school was not very helpful after Hopkins’s true nature was revealed.
“The more we advocated for our daughter, the worse things got. We knew we had to get out,” a mother said.
“The sight of a school bus made me sick,” another mother revealed.
“Today, I hope justice is served on the monster who created havoc for so many Springboro families,” one mother said.
Prosecutors pushed Judge Peeler to lock up Hopkins for twenty-seven years. Instead of going with a strong sentence, the judge felt pity for the molester and sentenced him to just eight years behind bars.
“We’re very disappointed with an eight-year sentence, given the scope of devastation that Mr. Hopkins inflicted on all of these families and the entire community of Springboro,” Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said in an emailed statement.
Despite having twenty-eight victims, this child molester got off easy in Iowa.