(10-4-22) Two former unnamed Huntington University cross country and track runners (who ran starting 2019 and 2020) claim in a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Northern Indiana late last week that they were doped, sexually assaulted and raped by a coach…and that school officials and other coaches allowed the abuse.
Complete – Lawsuit Document
Note: some details are graphic in matter
In the suit, the runners claim that when Nicholas Johnson was head coach while his wife, Lauren current cross country coach at Huntinton, was assistant coach beginning in 2018 used an illegal performance enhancing doping program the coaching duo learned years earlier while running in the Pacific Northwest.
The runners claim that Assistant Coach Curtis Hines and Lauren Johnson both knew of the abuse but did nothing to stop it according to the suit.
Nicholas Johnson was a part a running program under the leadership of distance runner Alberto Salazar, who was banned for four years by the USDA for doping in 2019.
Huntington University statement:
“University leadership has been made aware that a civil suit was filed that names the University, as well as individuals formerly and currently associated with the University. Huntington University is doing its due diligence but cannot comment further at this time.”
This follows another case from 2020 when Nicholas Johnson was charged with two counts of child seduction, kidnapping and identity deception. He was accused of performing inappropriate medical procedures on a person between the ages of 16 and 18 years old, according to Huntington Superior Court documents.
Nicholas Johnson was convicted of identity deception and served 30 days in jail and two years of home detention. He was terminated as the coach of Huntington University.
Both Lauren Johnson and Curtis Hines remain, as of today, as coaches of the Huntington University men’s and women’s teams.
This past week In her 5K debut in Foresteb freshman Addy Wiley outpaced the field of 419 competitors to win the Louisville Classic in 17:26 to be named the Crossroads League Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week. She finished eight seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Wiley navigated the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park course at a 5:36.7 per mile pace to be deemed the individual champion of one of the nation’s biggest collegiate races of the fall.
Wiley, a Huntington North, graduate had looked to be headed to the University of Colorado but at the last minute decided to stay home and enroll at Huntington University. One of her main reasons for remaining in the area was Lauren Johnson who coached her this summer when she became the first girl in prep history to run under 4:30 for 1,600 meters.
Did you know…
Lauren Davenport Johnson
Head Coach – 3rd season
Alma Mater Huntington University
Lauren Davenport Johnson is in her 3rd year as the HU cross country coach. Johnson is the first female coach to head up the Forester program.
Under Johnson’s leadership, the Huntington men’s squad ran to a second place finish at the 2020 NAIA National Cross Country Championships which proves the best finish in program history.
Johnson’s inaugral season saw five runners earn Cross Country All-American honors which included 2020 National Champion Emma Wilson who finished 35 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Wilson would go on to be voted the USTFCCA NAIA National Women’s Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
To date, Johnson’s cross country athletes have racked up eight All-American honors and five All-Conference accolades.
Johnson also serves as an assistant for the Huntington track and field program where she works primarily with mid- to long-distance runners. The accomplishments of her track athletes include an Indoor Track and Field National Championship in 2020, eight indiviudal national titles, three national relay titles and 86 NAIA All-American badges.
During Johnson’s short tenure, she has already been named the 2020 USTFCCA Great Lakes Region Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year as well as the 2021 Great Lakes Region Men’s Outdoor Track & Field Assistant Coach of the Year.
Her leadership was also key in the Huntington women’s team being named the 2021 NAIA Women’s Program of the Year as determined by their finish at each NAIA Championship in cross country, indoor track & field and outdoor track & field. It’s a first in school history. The men’s program was also deemed one of the top programs in the nation as evidenced by finishing fifth in the standings.
An alum of Huntington University, Davenport Johnson is one of the most decorated athletes to ever sport green and white. She is the only Forester athlete in school history to earn NAIA All-American honors in three different sports – cross country, basketball and track – and for her efforts reserved a spot in the HU Hall of Fame in the fall of 2015.
After spending four years playing basketball and running track, Davenport Johnson extended her athletic career by a semester to run cross country in the fall of 2009 where she dominated her peers by placing first in four of the six regular season meets. She went on to finish second at the conference meet to punch her ticket to the NAIA National Championships where she finished 16th out of 330 runners to claim her third and final All-American badge.
Davenport Johnson left HU as the school record holder in both the 400 meter hurdles (1:03.03) and the 800 meters (2:07.38) and ranked 2nd and 6th in the 400 meters (57.05) and 1500 meters (4:48.70) respectively. She made five appearances at the NAIA Outdoor National Track and Field Championships which included a fourth place finish in the 800 meters as a senior which earned her All-American status.
Upon graduation, Davenport Johnson moved to Portland, Oregon where she began her professional running career. She wasted little time establishing herself as an elite runner by making multiple National Championship appearances including a 4th place showing at the 2012 Indoor National Championships in the 1500 meters. Davenport Johnson also qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in both the 1500m and 3000m steeplechase but was unable to compete due to injury.
Davenport Johnson spent three years running for the Nike-sponsored Oregon Track Club Elite highlighted by a 4th place finish at the 2015 Outdoor National Championships in the 1500m. This qualified Davenport to compete for Team USA at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, where she ran to a 13th place finish.
Following the 2015 season, Davenport Johnson’s success continued by recording three more top ten national performances which included an 8th place showing at the 2016 Olympic trials in the 1500m and a 2nd place finish at the 2017 Indoor National Championships in the 1000m.
Davenport Johnson, who also ran for Adidas and the Boston Athletic Association high performance team, has twice achieved top five marks in the world in the indoor 1K (2017) and outdoor mile (2016). She finished 4th at the 2017 Outdoor National Championships and most recently competed in the 2021 Olympic Trials in the 800m and 1500m.
Davenport Johnson is a USATF level 1 certified coach and holds a USATF Level 2 certification in sprints/hurdles. She graduated from HU with a BS in Exercise Science in 2009.
Assistant Coach – 5th season
Alma Mater Huntington College
Curtis Hines joined the HU coaching ranks in the fall of 2018 as an assistant for the cross country program. His primary responsibilities include assisting with recruiting and working on projects associated wtih the cross country course. Hines also serves as an assistant for the track and field program, working specifically with distance athletes.
A native of Huntington, Hines was a standout runner at Huntington North High School before spending his collegiate years as a Forester where he ran cross country and track for Coach Tom King.
Hines was inducted into the HU Hall of Fame in 2016 as a member of the 1999 Huntington cross country team that posted a 6th place finish at the NAIA National Championships, the highest finish by any Forester athletic team at the time and the second highest finish of any HU team to date.
Hines brings nearly two decades of coaching experience to the program having coached cross country and track at Huntington North High School for 17 years.
His success is well-documented as evidenced by guiding the Vikings to 13 conference titles, 11 sectional titles, 11 regional titles, four semi-state runner-up finishes and five state finals appearances with his team’s highest finish of 4th place coming in 2003.
Hines graduated from Huntington College in 2001 with a BS in History Education. He also holds an MS in Social Studies Education, a degree he also earned from Huntington in 2014. He currently teaches at HNHS.