Trial of former basketball coach accused of sex crimes begins - | WBTV Charlotte

Trial of former basketball coach accused of sex crimes begins

NEWTON, NC (WBTV) -

It took a week to pick as jury but only a few minutes for the prosecution in the trial of Shawn Johnson to take the offensive. Johnson is accused of several sex crimes involving students at Hickory High School where he was the boys' basketball coach.

"This case is about abuse of power," said prosecutor Michael VanBuren in opening statements to the jury. "He used his education, he used who he was in the community to take advantage of the young women."

Defense Attorney Lisa Dubs countered by saying police "did not look for the truth." Dubs claims the investigators scared the witnesses and are using what they said to "ruin a man with rumors and lies."

Dubs claims that some people at the school were jealous of Johnson's success and that rumors started and just got out of hand.

The state opened their case with one of the alleged victims, a girl who was 18-years-old and a senior at the time in May of 2012. She told the jury that Johnson came up to her and "Said he wanted to kiss me all over."

The witness, who WBTV is not identifying because she is an alleged victim, said that "Made her nervous and uncomfortable."

The defense claims it was an innocent statement.

Dubs said in opening arguments that when Johnson said that, he was referencing how "Proud he was of the young woman and not making a sexual advance."

The trial is expected to last at least four weeks. It is not known if Johnson will take the stand in his own defense.

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