Coach Fired by Huntington U. Faces New Felony Charge

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A former Huntington University coach accused of sexually abusing students on the school’s cross country team had new charges filed against him this week. 

Court documents show a Huntington County grand jury has indicted ex-coach Nicholas Johnson, 33, on charges of felony sexual battery and a misdemeanor count of battery, WANE-TV reported. Johnson is also accused of sexually abusing students on the school’s cross country team.

The IndyStar reported that Johnson is accused of touching a victim who was compelled to submit by force or imminent threat, and knowingly and intentionally touching the victim in a rude or angry manner.

Related: Two Former Huntington University Student-Athletes Sue School Over Abuse

Related: Lawsuit: Huntington CC, Track Programs Allowed Doping, Abuse 

Johnson was arrested Tuesday morning and booked in the Huntington County Jail. He was released an hour later on $10,000 bond, WANE-TV reported.

Johnson has already been accused of imposing a cult-like atmosphere that resulted in the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of student athletes at the university, the IndyStar reported. Johnson was fired as HU coach in December 2020.

Two former student-athletes filed a federal lawsuit Sept. 30 against Johnson, who was employed from 2018 to 2020 as the head women’s running coach, accusing Johnson of raping and doping students in the university’s cross country program.

Johnson’s wife, Lauren, and an assistant coach, Curtis Hines, were also named in the lawsuit for their alleged knowledge of the alleged doping program.

Johnson has most recently been accused of posing as an official with the University of Oregon to arrange a recruiting trip with a female athlete. He brought the teen to motels in Oregon for a weekend, where he slept and showered with her, IndyStar reported.

In a separate criminal case, Johnson pleaded guilty to identity deception in 2022. The IndyStar reported that in exchange for the guilty plea, the prosecutor dropped the child seduction and kidnapping charges. Johnson served 30 days in jail, followed by 150 days on electronic monitoring.

Jonathan Little, the attorney for one of the student-athletes in the Sept. 30 federal lawsuit, said in an email to the IndyStar that he is glad the state of Indiana is prosecuting the case. 

"Since the summer of 2020, Huntington University and Nick Johnson have hidden the facts and circumstances of Mr. Johnson's conduct with internal 'investigations' by big corporate law firms and other tactics that are contrary to the spirit and letter of the Constitution and norms of civilized society," attorney Jonathan Little wrote in an email. "I am pleased that the State of Indiana has decided to prosecute this case and make the facts public." 

The new indictment involves a female athlete who was enrolled at Huntington. Her name is not listed in court documents, which refer to her only as "Victim 1."

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