Former Sunderland and England footballer, Adam Johnson has been jailed for six years for grooming and sexual activity with a school girl aged 15. For a crime described as “calculated, considered and carefully orchestrated” abuse of his celebrity status, 28-year-old Johnson, was told that his future as a footballer “must be in doubt” and was ordered to pay £50,000 of the prosecution’s 67,132 pound costs by the judge.
The presiding judge, Jonathan Rose, who condemned him for the ordeal he had put his young victim through, said he had caused the teen “severe psychological harm”, adding that he will need treatment for his sexual problems. He was also given a restraining order banning contact with the girl. Johnson was sacked by Sunderland FC last month after pleading guilty, at the start of his trial at Bradford Crown Court, to sexual grooming and kissing the teenager, but was later found guilty of a more serious child sexual assault.
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The former winger met the girl after agreeing to sign football shirts for her. He admitted kissing the teenager but told the jury an encounter in his Range Rover “went no further”. The girl however told the court he had “put his hands down her pants” and she performed a sex act on him. In the cause of his trial, the police reportedly found extreme pornography involving animals on Johnson’s laptop.
Johnson showed no emotion as he stood in the dock at Bradford Crown Court for the sentence and did not glance at his parents, Sonia and Dave, who also showed no emotion as they sat listening in the front row of the public gallery. Johnson’s Lawyer, Orlando Pownall QC, has said they would appeal against the guilty verdict. Just like his former club,Sunderland, sportswear manufacturing giants Adidas had also terminated their £10,000-a-year boot sponsorship with Johnson last month, after his guilty pleas to the sexual assault.
Adam Johnson who has played 12 times for England, was originally suspended by Sunderland after his arrest last March but was reinstated and helped the club avoid relegation. The footballer played at Middlesbrough and Manchester City before transferring to Sunderland, his hometown club, in a £10m deal in 2012. He had made 20 appearances this season and scored two goals.
Sunderland-born Johnson emerged from the academy set-up at Middlesbrough as a teenager, earning a £7million move to City in February 2010. In all, he made 141 appearances for the club, 29 of them as a substitute, and scored 22 goals, the last of them his side’s first in a 2-2 league draw at Liverpool on Saturday.