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HUNTINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A northeastern Indiana university placed its women's cross country head coach and an assistant on leave Thursday after two former runners claimed in a federal lawsuit they were doped and sexually assaulted.  Huntington University, a private, Christian liberal arts university, said it placed head coach Lauren Johnson and assistant coach Curtis Hines on administrative leave until further notice.  A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court names as defendants former coach Nicholas Johnson; his wife, current coach Lauren Johnson; assistant coach Curtis Hines; the university; its trustees; and unnamed administrators. The runners are seeking damages from all of the defendants.  The complaint claims the Johnsons instilled a program at the university where some team members were invited to partake in a “study” or “experiment.” Nicholas Johnson would also rub unknown substances on the runners, it said.  The runners claim Nicholas Johnson would perform massages or “treatments” on them and sexually assault them in 2020. 

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The runners claimed Hines and Lauren Johnson knew about the abuse but did nothing, the lawsuit said. University officials were aware or should have been aware of the abuse and did nothing to protect the runners, it said.  The university issued a statement saying it "has and continues to provide a variety of opportunities and directed avenues for students who were impacted to be heard, obtain counseling services, and make Title IX inquiries. We remain committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, that are free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.“  Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial aid.  Allegations of sex assault have put cross country coaches on administrative leave. A.P. — HUNTINGTON, Ind. On Thursday, the head coach and assistant coach of the women's cross country team at an institution in northeastern Indiana were placed on leave following allegations made by two former runners in a federal lawsuit that they were subjected to doping and sexual abuse.  A press release from Huntington University, a private Christian liberal arts institution, announced that head coach Lauren Johnson and assistant coach Curtis Hines have been placed on administrative leave.  Former coach Nicholas Johnson, current coach Lauren Johnson, current assistant coach Curtis Hines, the university, its trustees, and unknown administrators are all named as defendants in a case filed in U.S. District Court. The runners have filed a lawsuit against everyone named as a defendant.  The Johnsons are being accused in a lawsuit for allegedly instituting a program at the university in which certain members of the squad were encouraged to participate in a "research" or "experiment." According to the report, Nicholas Johnson would also massage unidentified substances on the runners.  The athletes say that in 2020, Nicholas Johnson sexually assaulted and/or massaged them.  As part of their lawsuit, the runners claimed Hines and Lauren Johnson were aware of the abuse but did nothing to stop it. It claimed that university administrators knew, or should have known, about the abuse but did nothing to protect the runners.  In a statement released to the press, the university said it "has and continues to provide a number of opportunities and directed pathways for students who were impacted to be heard, get counseling services, and submit Title IX inquiries." We're still dedicated to creating a place of employment and learning where everyone can thrive without fear of bias, harassment, or reprisal.  The Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX. Title IX prevents sexual orientation discrimination in federally funded schools and other educational settings. 


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