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Police charge Sunderland, England winger Adam Johnson with sexual offences, grooming

04/23/2015 11:51 EDT | Updated 07/22/2015 04:59 EDT
DURHAM, England - Sunderland winger Adam Johnson was charged on Thursday with three offences of sexual activity with a girl under the age of 16 and one of grooming.

Johnson, who has played 12 times for England, was charged after answering bail at a police station in northeast England. He was arrested on March 2 and has played for Sunderland during the subsequent investigation.

The 27-year-old Johnson will appear before magistrates on May 20, a police force in Durham said in a statement.

Public prosecutor Gerry Wareham said in a statement there is a "realistic prospect of conviction" of Johnson, who is charged with "meeting a child following sexual grooming" and "three offences of sexual activity with a child" who was 15 at the time.

The offences are alleged to have taken place from Dec. 30 last year to Feb. 26.

Johnson was initially suspended by Sunderland after his arrest, before being reinstated by the club that is struggling to avoid relegation from the Premier League. He has played in three games since his arrest, all as a substitute.

Johnson began his career in the northeast with Middlesbrough, graduating from the academy to the first team. Johnson's impressive performances secured a transfer to Manchester City in 2010 for 7 million pounds (now about $11 million).

After City won the Premier League in 2012, Johnson sought more regular first-team football and joined Sunderland for 10 million pounds (now about $15 million).

Johnson made the last of his 12 England appearances in August 2012 against Italy.

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