Nick Johnson, coach fired by Huntington University, facing new felony sexual battery count
A Huntington County grand jury has indicted a former women's track coach accused of imposing a cult-like atmosphere that resulted in the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of student athletes at Huntington University.
Nicholas Johnson, the ex-coach, was charged with felony sexual battery and misdemeanor battery, according to true bills filed on Monday. He 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.
Huntington County Prosecutor Jeremy Nix did not immediately return an IndyStar voice message. An attorney representing Johnson declined to comment.
Johnson was the subject of an IndyStar investigation into the Christian university that revealed a cult-like atmosphere centered around Johnson. There were allegations of sexual and physical abuse and pressure to submit to doping.
The allegations:Christian college coach created a culture of doping and sex, star runners allege
A federal lawsuit was filed Sept. 30 on behalf of two former runners, Hannah Stoffel and Emma Wilson, alleging criminal battery by Nick Johnson and negligence by Lauren Johnson, his wife and an assistant coach; Curtis Hines, another assistant coach; Huntington University, and other school officials. HU was also accused of Title IX violations.
"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," Jonathan Little, an attorney representing Stoffel, 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."
Nick Johnson was fired as HU coach in December 2020 after he was charged with felony counts of child seduction, kidnapping and identity deception in a bizarre incident involving a high school athlete.
In that criminal case, he was accused of contacting the family of the runner — posing as an official at the University of Oregon — to arrange a recruiting trip, according to police and court records. Instead, a detective with the Huntington Police Department reported, Johnson and the athlete spent the weekend at motels in Portland and Eugene, Oregon. Police records say the coach slept and showered with the teen.
Doyel:Unspeakable allegations of sex, doping and denial at Huntington
The investigator wrote he believed Johnson "used or exerted his professional relationship” to engage in sexual activity with the girl.
Johnson pleaded guilty last year to a felony charge of identity deception. In exchange, the prosecutor dropped the child seduction and kidnapping charges. He served 30 days in jail, followed by 150 days on electronic monitoring.
After he was fired, the school named his wife, Lauren Johnson, as the new head coach. Lauren Johnson was placed on leave following allegations uncovered in the IndyStar investigation.
This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Coach fired by Huntington University facing sexual battery charge