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Huntington Aims to ‘Hide Facts’ in Assault Case, Lawyer Says | Inside Higher Ed

A lawyer representing two former Huntington University runners who have alleged sexual assault by a former track coach has accused the Christian institution of trying to “hide facts” by hiring a law firm to conduct an external review, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The university issued a statement Sunday saying it was “devastated and heartbroken” by the civil lawsuit filed last month by attorney Jon Little on behalf of the athletes, which alleges not only that former track coach Nicholas Johnson “had sexual contact with multiple students” on the cross-country and track teams but also that he administered “treatments” that included “infusing/injecting his athletes with unknown substances as well as giving out pills.”

“Following this discovery many have voiced concern, and we want you to know that we hear you,” the university's statement read. “These allegations are not only disturbing, but also antithetical to everything we stand for.” The statement followed the launch of a petition by students seeking the resignation of several top administrators, including President Sherilyn Emberton, which as of Monday evening had garnered 870 signatures.

Huntington has retained the law firm Lathrop GPM to conduct a review of its Title IX and sexual misconduct policies.

“This is very typical of big institutions,” Little said. “They hire a big law firm. They hide behind attorney/client privilege and attorney work product.”

He added that the university is “scared” of going to court.

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