An English professional footballer who plays as a winger, Adam Johnson is facing the prospect of five to ten years in jail after being found guilty of sexual activity with a 15-year-old schoolgirl.
In March 2015, Johnson was arrested on suspicion of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl, and continued to play for Sunderland during his bail. The following February, he pleaded guilty to two charges against him, the other being one of child grooming, and was subsequently sacked by Sunderland. On 2 March 2016, Johnson was found guilty of a further count of sexual activity with a child. He will be sentenced at a later date.
The former Manchester City cup winner was cleared of another count in which she was alleged to have performed a s*x act on him.
The judge Jonathan Rose told Johnson a substantial custodial sentence was “an almost inevitable outcome” when he is sentenced later this month at Bradford crown court.
Judge Rose told Johnson as he was granting him bail that he should use the opportunity to “say goodbye to your daughter” because “you will not see her for some time”.
Johnson’s daughter was seven weeks old when he was arrested exactly a year ago.
The judge said his preliminary view was that the case fell into the category of a five-year prison sentence with a range of four to 10 years.
The judge said: “You must understand when you return here at the end of March that it will be to receive a substantial prison sentence. Do you understand that?”
Johnson nodded in the glass dock, flanked by two officers. The judge told Johnson he must observe a 7pm to 7am curfew and also said to him that “you would be well advised to stay well away from social media”.
Johnson left the court dock without answering a journalist who asked whether he would apologise to the victim. A minder carried a black hold-all bag packed in case Johnson was jailed immediately.
Johnson had denied all four of the allegations until the first day of his trial, when he pleaded guilty to one count of grooming and one count of kissing the schoolgirl.
He continued to deny that he did anything further than kiss the teenager and disputed her two allegations of sexual assault.
The victim, now 16, was a Sunderland season ticket holder who “idolised” Johnson and regularly waited outside the club’s Stadium of Light for a picture with her hero, the court heard.
They began swapping messages on New Year’s Eve and 18 days later Johnson met the girl to give her a signed Sunderland shirt.
Johnson’s final game for Sunderland was on 6 February, when he scored in a 2-2 draw away to Liverpool, the weekend before his trial. His contract was torn up 24 hours after he pleaded guilty on 10 February.