Former Sunderland and England footballer Adam Johnson has today received a six year prison sentence for sexual activity with a child.
In January 2015 the professional footballer was convicted of performing a sex act on a 15 year old child. He also admitted to grooming and kissing the school girl, two offences he had strenuously denied right up until the first day of his trial in March this year.
Following his trial, the 28 year old was found guilty by a majority verdict of performing a sex act on the teenager in his Range Rover, having arranged to meet her by a Chinese takeaway near her family home.
Having amassed a total of twelve caps playing for his country, it was noted during sentencing that Johnson has now been stripped of these accolades.
According to the Guardian, Johnson showed no emotion as he was sentenced at Bradford Crown this afternoon. Judge Jonathan Rose, sentencing, told him:
“All of this is entirely your own responsibility and fault.”
Adding that Johnson’s victim had suffered ‘severe psychological harm’, the judge continued:
“Your standing and your offending are the only reason this child has suffered abuse.
“That was known to you – to put it another way she had only just turned 15 when you began grooming her, because as you were to admit you found her sexually attractive.”
Judge Rose went on to say that in full knowledge of the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, being under the age, his intention was to engage in sexual activity with her.
“You continued in your grooming of this girl even after you were engaged in sexual activity with her. You wanted no-one to know that you and she were exchanging messages.
“You asked her to find a place to meet that was private and secluded so no-one would see you in her company.”
“You made a deliberate decision to engage in sexual activity with this young girl, no doubt in the expectation that you would get away with it.
“Your future as a professional footballer must be in doubt.”
Along with his six year prison sentence, Johnson was ordered to pay £50,000 of the prosecution’s £67,132 costs.
A “calculated, considered and carefully-orchestrated” crime
Kate Blackwell, prosecuting, had previously told the court that Johnson should be jailed for up to 10 years, after he carried out a “calculated, considered and carefully-orchestrated” crime.
She went on to say that the offences committed against the victim have left the teenager with suicidal thoughts and “severe psychological harm”.
Blackwell said that the school girl has had to attend counselling sessions for her suicidal thoughts as well as for depression and anxiety. The prosecutor read out the teenager’s victim impact statement to the court in which she stated that she had been continuously bullied and that her schoolwork had suffered as a result of the case.
The prosecution also told the court that Johnson’s sister and others who were close to the former midfielder had “openly encouraged and promoted” his fans to “repeatedly and doggedly” abuse the victim on social media.
Adding that Johnson “was in the habit of meeting girls on the way back from training to have sex” with them in secret locations, Blackwell said that the footballer still represents a threat to young women.
Lucrative career lost
Defending Johnson, Orlando Pownall, said:
“He has lost a lucrative career he will never be able to retrieve. He has been stripped of his England caps and it might be said deservedly. He has been made the subject of national humiliation. These are all aspects of punishment that arise from his pleas and from his conviction.”
Pownell added that although Johnson has a “compulsive attitude towards engaging in sexual activity”, he is not a “predatory paedophile”.
DI Aelfwynn Sampson, of Durham Constabulary, said:
“This is a carefully considered and significant sentence which sends out a clear message.
“Fame, celebrity and a position of power does not give you the right to break the law in pursuit of whatever you desire. Members of the public are clearly entitled to express their opinions but the law remains clear and Adam Johnson broke it.”
“The age of consent is clear. It is set at 16 to protect young people from adults and also themselves. Johnson, a 28-year-old man, picked out a 15-year-old girl. His sexual intentions to the girl were clear as he admitted himself while giving evidence.
“He pleaded guilty to grooming her for sexual activity fully knowing how old she was from the start. She never lied about her age to him. He groomed his victim and gave her his personal phone number, arranged to meet her and gave her special gifts of signed shirts.
“Over a period of time they exchanged hundreds of messages. He made her feel special and admitted flirting with her to manipulate the schoolgirl in an attempt to satisfy his sexual desires.
“This girl should have been safe but she was used by the public figure she looked up to most. I hope today will bring some closure for her and her family. This case demonstrates that victims of these crimes will be taken seriously and perpetrators will be dealt with robustly.”
Sexual Abuse – Expert Advice
Hampson Hughes Solicitors specialises in directing sexual abuse claims in a considerate and compassionate manner. Our Abuse & Criminal Injuries Department is headed by Greg Neill – Greg is a member of the Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL).
For an open and friendly conversation about your situation, and to find out how we can assist you relevant to your individual experience, call 0800 888 6 888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will be given the direct-dial of your case handler, meaning that you will always be able to reach the person you need.
Source: The Guardian