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Footballer Adam Johnson pleads guilty to sexual activity with 15-year-old girl

England footballer Adam Johnson, 28, arrives at Bradford crown court. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PAEngland footballer Adam Johnson, 28, arrives at Bradford crown court. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Sunderland and England footballer Adam Johnson has pleaded guilty to kissing a 15-year-old schoolgirl after grooming her over the internet.

The 28-year-old midfielder admitted one count of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming at Bradford crown court. He denies two other counts of sexual activity with a child and is due to go on trial on Friday.

The midfielder, from Castle Eden, County Durham, had his case moved from Durham.

Born in Sunderland, Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough before moving to Manchester City and then to Sunderland for £10m in 2012.

Johnson was suspended by the north-east club following his arrest on 2 March last year but that was lifted when his bail was extended by five weeks a fortnight later.

He went on to feature in the side that survived relegation from the Premier League and has since made four appearances in an injury-hit start to the season.

Johnson entered two guilty pleas when the charges were read out to him by the court clerk.

Johnson is accused of grooming the teenager between 30 December 2014 and 26 February 2015 and having met with her to carry out sexual activity knowing that she was under 16, the age of consent. Standing in the dock, Johnson answered “guilty”.

In a second count, Johnson is charged with intentionally touching the complainant in a sexual way knowing that she was under 16. He briefly consulted his legal team before answering “guilty, yeah”.

A panel of prospective jurors were sworn in after Johnson entered his pleas. Before they were released, the judge, Jonathan Rose, said: “This is a case you may see referred to in the press. Mr Johnson is a professional footballer with Sunderland AFC and you may see something about it in the newspaper. But let me just remind you of the oath and affirmation you have just received. You must try this defendant on the evidence heard in this courtroom, not anything else. That is very important.” – theguardian –

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