Ex-Hickory High coach found not guilty on all sexual assault charges

A Catawba County jury on Tuesday found a former boys’ basketball coach at Hickory High School not guilty of all nine sexual assault charges brought against him.

Shawn Johnson, who faced charges including statutory rape and indecent liberties with a minor, issued a statement after the verdicts thanking everyone in the community who stood by him. He said he couldn’t have made it without their support during the four-week trial.

“It was a bad investigation,” Lisa Dubs, a Hickory lawyer who defended Johnson, said after the verdicts. “They didn’t look at the quality of the evidence and witnesses before they charged him and ruined his life with unbelievable evidence.”

“They simply jumped to conclusions and ignored inconsistencies with witness statements,” Dubs told the Observer.

Observer news partner WBTV reported that Johnson was accused of telling one student he wanted to “kiss her all over,” according to the judge in the trial. Court documents show Johnson also was accused of having sexual intercourse with a student, WBTV said. The incidents supposedly happened between 2002 and 2012.