Ohio High School Coach Pleads Not Guilty To Felony Sexual Battery

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.

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James Bogen

For anybody who is not familiar with the criminal legal process EVERY defendant charged with a felony enters a plea of “not guilty” at their first court appearance. Any attorney who has a client enter a guilty plea at this early point in the process would be committing malpractice. An attorney is required by the ethics rules and the law to do his due diligence on the case, which will obviously consist of going through all of the available evidence and identify all possible legal issues to address. Even if a client appears to be obviously guilty, an attorney cannot just have his client enter a guilty plea based on media reports. To illustrate this point, imagine a celebrity gets… Read more »

Harry Dresden

Does anyone know what the statute of limitations is on crimes like this? And on a related note, since these alleged acts occurred 9-11 years ago, any actual evidence would be long since destroyed, meaning this will likely come down to his word against theirs.I know nothing whatsoever about this case or the people involved, but that scenario right there puts him in a huge hole.

James Bogen

I believe the statute of limitations in Ohio for sexual battery is 20 years after the victim turns 18. In my experience, there is often no physical evidence in these kinds of cases.

Former Swimmer

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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