Johnson: World ‘turned upside down’ by arrest
BRADFORD, England (AP) — English soccer player Adam Johnson told a court he did nothing more than kiss a 15-year-old girl after taking a “bold risk” to meet with her in his car, saying Tuesday he knew “it was wrong” to carry on any further.
Testifying at his trial, Johnson said he was surprised the girl told police that more sexual activity had taken place.
“I felt like someone else was telling her to say these things,” Johnson said on his second day of testifying.
Johnson has pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl and another charge of “grooming” — building an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for sexual reasons. He denied two more counts of sexual activity with a child.
Johnson had already met the girl and signed soccer shirts for her when he messaged her to say she “owed” him a “thank you kiss.” Johnson agreed with the prosecutor that his attitude was “keen.”
Asked why he didn’t act on his desire to engage in more sexual activity with the girl, Johnson said: “Because when I had my kiss, I knew that it was wrong and I didn’t want it to carry on any further.”
Johnson said that his world “got turned upside down” when he was arrested by police. Johnson was fired by his Premier League club, Sunderland, before the trial began.
He denied that concerns about losing his soccer career and salary of 60,000 pounds ($85,000) a week prevented him from entering the two guilty pleas earlier.
“It’s the advice I was given at the time and I went along with that,” said the 28-year-old Johnson, who has also played for Manchester City and England’s national team.