Adam Johnson’s legal troubles are gathering steam, as Sunderland hopes to avoid the relegation trap-door with a late-season surge.
“Adam Johnson, a professional footballer aged 27 from Castle Eden, County Durham has this afternoon been charged with three offences of sexual activity with a child under 16 years old, plus one offence of grooming,” the Durham Police said in a statement.
The girl with whom Johnson is suspected of having had sexual activity was 15 years old at the time of the offense, according to the BBC. Prosecutors allege Johnson committed the offenses between Dec. 30, 2014 and Feb. 26, 2015.
Johnson will answer the charges in court May 20 — the same day Sunderland visits Arsenal in its penultimate game of the season.
Sunerland currently sits 16th in the Premier League standings with 29 points after 32 games. Sunderland is one of eight clubs that could finish in the bottom three places and be relegated to the Championship (English second division) next season.
Sunderland suspended Johnson immediately after his arrest. The Premier League club reinstated Johnson on March 18, and he has made substitute appearances in his team’s last three games under newly installed manager Dick Advocaat.
Johnson joined Sunderland from Manchester City in a £10 million ($15.4 million) transfer in August 2012. He won a Premier League title and an FA Cup with Manchester City. Johnson also has scored two goals in 12 games with England’s national team but he hasn’t played for the Three Lions since his move to Sunderland.
Johnson’s club and international careers now hang in the balance.
Neither Johnson nor Sunderland has commented on Thursday’s news.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@Scottwilsonecho