England

Sunderland player Adam Johnson faces child sex charges

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Media captionJohnson was also charged with one offence of grooming when he answered bail at a police station

England and Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson has been charged with three counts of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.

The 27-year-old, from Castle Eden, County Durham, was initially arrested on 2 March.

He was also charged with one offence of grooming when he answered bail at a police station earlier, Durham Police said.

He will appear before Peterlee Magistrates' Court on 20 May.

Sunderland AFC initially suspended the winger pending the outcome of the investigation, but this was lifted on 18 March.

The club are yet to comment on the charges.

'Lifelong anonymity'

Gerry Wareham, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said he had authorised police to charge Johnson under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

He said the offences are alleged to have been committed on a single victim between 30 December 2014 to 26 February this year.

"May I remind all concerned that the defendant has a right to a fair trial," he said.

"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."

Born in Sunderland, Johnson began his career at Middlesbrough FC before moving to Manchester City and then Sunderland for £10m in 2012.

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