Matt Johnsen accused of engaging in sexual conduct with two girls between 2006 and 2008.
NORTH CANTON, OHIO — Longtime Hoover High swim coach Matt Johnsen has been charged with sexual battery following allegations involving two teenage swimmers he coached.
Johnsen, an English teacher and swim coach at Hoover for roughly 15 years, was indicted by a Stark County grand jury on two felony charges of sexual battery, according to an arrest report The Canton Repository obtained Tuesday through a public records request. He remained in Stark County Jail Tuesday evening.
Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Fred Scott said the indictment stems from allegations that Johnsen, 40, engaged in sexual conduct with two swimmers between 2006 and 2008. The girls were 16 years old when it began.
“While 16 is the age of consent, it’s not when you are in a coach relationship, teacher-student relationship or doctor-patient relationship,” Scott said. “It’s the coaching relationship that makes it a felony in the third degree.”
If convicted, Johnsen could face up to 10 years in prison under Ohio sentencing laws.
North Canton Superintendent Jeff Wendorf, who learned of Johnsen’s arrest Tuesday afternoon, said he is consulting with the district’s legal counsel regarding Johnsen’s status with the district.
“We’ll investigate the situation,” Wendorf said.
Johnsen, who lives in Plain Township, was a nine-time All American swimmer as a Hoover student, graduating in 1996. As a coach, he has produced more than 160 state qualifiers and more than 55 All American swimmers and has led the Vikings to 10 Federal League boys titles and seven girls titles in his roughly 15 seasons. His overall dual meet record as boys and girls coach at Hoover is 299-51-2.
Last year, Johnsen was inducted into the Stark County Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame.
It was not immediately clear whether Johnsen has retained an attorney.
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