HUNTINGTON COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — A Huntington Superior Court judge denied a change of venue request over a month after attorneys for an ex-Huntington University track coach requested the change for his looming sexual battery trial.
Court records show the judge issued an order denying the motion on June 2.
In a motion written to the court in April, 33-year-old Nicholas Johnson’s lawyers claimed that he could not receive a fair trial in Huntington County for a number of reasons, including publicity surrounding a lawsuit involving his wife and him, as well as a previous criminal conviction that sparked public outrage.
Currently, Johnson is facing a felony count of sexual battery and is named in a lawsuit in which former Huntington athletes accuse him of sexual assault, rape and illegally supplying them with performance enhancing drugs.
The lawsuit also implicates Johnson’s wife and former Huntington University track standout, Lauren Johnson, claiming the couple ran an illegal doping scheme and that other administrators knew about the abuse going on in the school’s track and field program.
No trial date has been set for the case, but a pre-trial conference is scheduled for July 18.