England footballer Adam Johnson has been charged with three child-sex offenses with a person under 16 and one of sexual grooming.
Johnson, who was initially arrested by Durham Police on March 2, will appear before Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on May 20.
“We have reviewed the available evidence in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors and concluded that there is a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to charge Adam Johnson with one offence of meeting a child following sexual grooming, contrary to Section 15 of the Sexual Offenses Act 2003 and three offenses of sexual activity with a child, contrary to Section 9 of the Sexual Offense Act 2003,” Gerry Wareham, chief crown prosecutor for the Northeast of England, in a statement.
“The alleged offenses date from 30 December 2014 to 26 February 2015.”
Wareham said that the offenses are alleged to have been committed on one girl who was aged 15 at the time.
Johnson’s club Sunderland has yet to respond to CNN’s request for comment. The 27-year-old’s agent was also not immediately available to comment.
Johnson was suspended by Sunderland on March 3 pending the outcome of a police investigation, before being allowed to return to training on March 18 after his bail was extended.
Wareham added in a statement: “May I remind all concerned that the defendant has a right to a fair trial. It is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.
“I would also remind people that the complainant in this case is entitled to lifelong anonymity under the law. For these reasons, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.”
The last of Johnson’s 12 international appearances for the senior England team was in August 2012.
He started his career with Sunderland’s local rival Middlesbrough, making his debut at the age of 17, and was sold to Manchester City for a reported fee of £7 million ($10.8 million) in early 2010.
Johnson helped City to win the 2011-12 Premier League title but was signed by his hometown team Sunderland for a reported £10 million ($15.3 million) at the start of the following season.