Local Ohio Hall of Fame Coach Charged With Felony Sexual Battery

Ohio high school coach Matt Johnsen has been charged with two counts of felony sexual battery and could face up to a decade in prison if convicted.

Johnsen has been an English teacher and swim coach at Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio for about 15 years, according to the Canton Repository. He was a fixture of the local swimming scene, with an induction into the Greater Canton Aquatic Association Hall of Fame in the spring of 2016Johnsen was arrested this week and indicted on two felony counts of sexual battery.

According to the Repository, the 40-year-old coach is accused of engaging in sexual conduct with two girls between 2006 and 2008. Both girls were 16 when the sexual contact began. That’s past the age of consent in Ohio, but local prosecutors indicated that because Johnsen was in a coach-athlete relationship with the girls, the conduct would be a third-degree felony if proven in court.

Ohio state law could send Johnsen to prison for up to 10 years if he is convicted. The North Canton school district told the Repository that it was consulting with its attorneys to make a decision on Johnsen’s standing with the district moving forward.

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I’m not a swimmer, but Mr. Johnsen was my English teacher last year. He was very nice to me and always courteous, however he seemed to blow off the handle a lot. He’s mocked students on several occasions and even admitted to wrongdoing before (forcing a student to recite the Pledge with a threat of detention). We are all shocked here at Hoover, however deep in my mind I sincerely think this is gonna be a rabbit hole. There will be many more girls who come out. I have NO information, however I just have a feeling.


My daughter had mr.Johnson in school and thought he was one of the most helpful teachers at Hoover. I hope these allegations are false.


I also had Mr.Johnsen this past year and am not a swimmer. However, he was one of my favorite teachers at Hoover and was very helpful and really cared about his students. The incident with the pledge of allegiance lasted no more then 20 seconds either, he just told the student to stand and the student said ok and there were no other issues with it.

James Bogen

Ohio’s sexual battery statute: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2907.03. R.C. 2907.03(A)(7) applies to teachers, and (A)(9) applies to coaches who aren’t teachers or otherwise affiliated with a school.


There were rumors going around while I attended Hoover. Mr. Johnsen was my English teacher for two years. I graduated in 2007. He always had his swimmers in his room during his lunch or free periods, but I never assumed more was going on behind the scenes. He was a very personable guy. Interesting this happened it with a person who I graduated with.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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