Johnson ’abused his position’

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Prosecutors said Johnson, who was sacked by Premier League club Sunderland this week, had sexual contact with the teenager “in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong”.

The girl contacted the 28-year-old via Facebook, a jury at Bradford Crown Court heard, and the two began exchanging messages before they finally met so he could sign shirts for her.

Prosecutor Kate Blackwell QC described how the two engaged in sexual activity in the former Manchester City star's black Range Rover at this second meeting on January 30, 2015.

“What happened in that car on that evening is for you to decide,” Blackwell said.

“The Crown's case is that sexual activity took place, that the defendant and (the girl) kissed, with tongues, for some time during which the defendant unbuttoned her jeans and undid the zip.”

The prosecutor described what happened next between the footballer and the teenager and said: “The defendant then stopped what he was doing.

“He did not, as he would have you believe, have a sudden pang of conscience, an epiphany, an experience of sudden and striking realisation.”

Blackwell said the defendant then drove to “a more secluded place” where further sexual activity took place.

Blackwell told the jury: “It is the Crown's case that what has brought the defendant to this courtroom is a sexual desire for (the girl), an excessive arrogance and an unwarranted level of expectation.

“He has abused his revered position in society and, having met (her), this 15-year-old girl, at Sunderland Football Club and later on social media, and knowing that she looked up to him, made a conscious decision to act in a way that he knew was both morally and legally wrong.”

Blackwell said the girl was a passionate Sunderland fan and Johnson was her favourite player.

“After matches, she would hang around waiting for a glimpse of him, wanting to get a photograph, often sporting a Sunderland shirt with Johnson's name emblazoned across the back,” she said.

“She had one enormous crush on him. He was her absolute hero. She idolised him.”

Blackwell read to the jury a series of messages exchanged between Johnson and the girl. In the messages, she said, she made it clear she was just 15.

The prosecutor also told the jury that Johnson had researched “legal of age of consent” on the internet.

Blackwell told the jury that Johnson has already admitted one count of sexual activity with a child and another of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

She said: “The Crown's case is that he is guilty of further and more serious sexual activity.”

The trial was adjourned until Monday. – AFP

Original source: Johnson ’abused his position’

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