Matthew Johnsen, a high school swim coach in Ohio accused of having sexual conduct with two of his swimmers, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony sexual battery.
Johnsen is a longtime English teacher and swim coach at Hoover High School in Canton, Ohio. He’s been accused of having sexual contact with two female swimmers between the years 2006 and 2008, per The Canton Repository, though a newer report lists the dates as between 2005 and 2007.
Both victims were 16 years old when the alleged sexual contact began – that’s past the age of consent in Ohio, but because Johnsen was in a coach-athlete relationship, any sexual contact could still be a third-degree felony. The Repository reports that the incidents started with “grooming and inappropriate physical contact” and progressed to sexual acts.
The 40-year-old Johnsen was indicted by a grand jury last week. On Friday, he appeared in court to plead not guilty to the charges. His next court date is August 23, a week from this Wednesday. The Repository has video of the entire court appearance, which only lasts about 24 seconds. You can view it here.