The trial of recently-cut Sunderland winger Adam Johnson on charges related to his sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl started today, which means we’re starting to learn the details of what exactly Johnson did to get in this situation. According to the prosecution’s version of events, they aren’t pretty.
The Guardian was on hand for the prosecutor’s opening statement, which painted the scene. The victim was a big Sunderland fan and a big fan of Johnson in particular. She often waited outside the stadium in her Johnson jersey, hoping to get a picture with her favorite player. The two connected on Facebook, and that’s how the grooming that Johnson has already pleaded guilty to kicked off:
Within hours of the pair texting on New Year’s Eve 2014, jurors were told that Johnson asked the girl: “Are you in the last year of school?”
She replied: “Year 10. Will you still send me a signed shirt?”
Johnson then arranged to meet the girl to give her a signed Sunderland shirt, jurors heard, and asked as the conversation went on: “Where do you go out?”
She replied: “I’m not old enough to go out.”
He said: “Yeah but you look old enough. When you 16?”
She answered: “Everyone says that. November.”
Looking at the dates, this means the victim had just turned 15 a few weeks prior. Related: 16 is the age of consent in England.
In late January, the pair met up in person with Johnson picking her up in his car. What went on in the car—Johnson only admits to kissing the victim, while the prosecutor is charging him for more extensive sexual contact—is the crux of the case. Here’s the prosecution’s version:
After a short conversation, Johnson allegedly reminded the girl he had come for his “thank you kiss” for giving her a signed shirt.
“What happened in that car on that evening is for you to decide,” Blackwell [the prosecutor] told the jury. “The crown’s case is that sexual activity took place.”
Johnson allegedly later asked the girl to show him a more secluded area “for when they met the next time”. He then drove to a remote area facing a football pitch and continued the sexual activity, Blackwell said, stopping a short time later when the girl began to feel “uncomfortable and awkward about where it may end”.
Within hours of the alleged sexual encounter, Johnson is said to have sent a message to the girl saying: “Wasn’t bad was it? Lol”. She replied: “No haha”. He continued: “Haha think we need to go in the back next time lol”. She said: “Haha yeah”.
The court heard that Johnson said he felt the meeting had been “worth it”, adding: “It was class. Just wanted to get ya jeans off lol ... Next time defo. I will last 10 seconds though lol.”
The trial is ongoing.
Photo via Getty