English footballer Adam Johnson 'abused position in society' to commit sexual act with 15-year-old fan
Feb 13, 2016 05:17 AM EST
The Bradford Crown Court jury held Friday that former Sunderland forward Adam Johnson abused his "revered position in society" to touch a 15-year-old fan in sexual manner inside his Range Rover.
The 28-year-old English footballer met the teenager for a "thank you kiss" after he signed two of the girl's football shirts. Johnson reportedly unzipped the girl's jeans during the encounter, after which they drove off to "a more secluded place" where further sexual activity transpired.
BBC reported the victim was said to have had an "enormous crush" on Johnson, whom she contacted via Facebook to schedule the meeting to have her shirts signed. After their first encounter, the two continued to exchange messages. Johnson later asked the girl if he deserved a "thank you kiss" for signing the shirts, after which they met again.
Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC said that Johnson agreed to sign the shirts with the knowledge that the girl would do anything to please him in return.
"He knew her age. He knew how much she idolised him. And he knew that he could take advantage of the situation. And that is exactly what he did," Blackwell added.
It was said that the pair kissed for several minutes in a passionate manner, during which he unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans.
Blackwell said Johnson "abused his revered position in society" when he "made a conscious decision to act in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong."
The prosecution also stated that the victim made it clear that she was only 15, and that Adam Johnson had researched the "legal age of consent" on the internet before proceeding with the act.
Johnson pleaded guilty to charges of sexual activity with the 15-year-old and child grooming. He was also charged with two other counts of sexual activity with minors, which he denied.
The Guardian reported that Sunderland had terminated Johnson's £10 million contract with the club after his admission. Club officials were apparently shocked by his admission of guilt as they were led to believe that he would not plead guilty to the charges against him.
Adidas has also revoked its boot contract with the English winger, which is believed to be worth around £10,000 per season.
He made 20 first team appearances in the English Premiere League this season. His last appearance as a Sunderland player was during the club's Feb. 6 match against Liverpool, in which he scored to end the game in a 2-2 draw.
Adam Johnson arrived at the Bradford Crown Court with his girlfriend Stacey Flounders whom he has a daughter with.