Trial starts for former basketball coach accused of sex crimes

by: Dave Faherty Updated:


CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. - The trial of a former head high school basketball coach accused of sex crimes on school grounds got underway Wednesday afternoon in Catawba County. 
Shawn Johnson is charged with 12 felonies after being fired from his job at Hickory High School in 2012.  

Read our past coverage:  High school basketball coach fired after accusations of assault against students

The former student described for the jury Shawn Johnson's sexual advances shortly after her lunch period inside Hickory high school in 2012.  Because of the allegations, we are not showing her face. 
Prosecutors say the former student is one of four victims in the case stretching back to 2004 school year.   During that time, Johnson took the school's basketball team to the playoffs eight consecutive years. 
Assistant district attorney Michael VanBuren said Johnson used his position to take advantage of female student, including having sex in his office. 
Shawn Johnson's attorney explained to the jury the allegations are rumors and lies, and that police went too far when questioning the teenagers who were involved. 
Jury selection took a week and the trial could last as long as a month. 
Johnson's attorney hinted that he may take the stand in his own defense.
Reporter Dave Faherty will be keeping up with the latest on the trial. Follow him for updates on Twitter using #JohnsonTrial.

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