LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Former England footballer Adam Johnson was sentenced to six years in prison at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday after being found guilty of sexual activity with a 15-year-old fan.
Johnson, once a winger with Sunderland and Manchester City, was found guilty following an incident in his Range Rover car in County Durham, north-east England, last year.
The 28-year-old had also pleaded guilty to another count of sexual activity with a child and one count of grooming a child.
Judge Jonathan Rose, passing sentence, said the victim — who cannot be named for legal reasons — had been a Sunderland fan who would wait after matches to take pictures of her “favourite player”, Johnson, who had known her age.
“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,” said the judge.
Judge Rose said that the offences happened “at a time when you were engaged in frequent sexual intercourse with multiple partners”.
“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.”
Johnson was found guilty on March 2 before being granted bail ahead of Thursday’s sentencing.
He was sacked by struggling Premier League side Sunderland last month as the north-east club terminated his £60,000 ($84,675, 75,909 euros) per week contract and Judge Rose said: “Your future as a professional footballer must be in doubt.”
He told Johnson he had “every opportunity” to enter guilty pleas to the charges he eventually admitted and that by not doing so his victim had been subjected to a year of being called a liar, including chants by fans.