London (AFP) – Former England winger Adam Johnson said on Tuesday that he “deeply regrets” his actions after serving three years in prison for child sex offences.
Johnson was released from prison on March 22 after serving half of his six-year sentence for engaging in sexual activity with a 15-year-old.
The former Manchester City and Sunderland star admitted two charges relating to kissing the girl and meeting her with intent after grooming her.
Johnson was convicted by a jury of a further offence of sexual activity with a child when they met in his Range Rover in 2015, a conviction which he unsuccessfully attempted to overturn.
The 31-year-old said he wants to move on with his life after apologising for his actions.
In a statement, Johnson said he “would like to take this opportunity to publicly express my remorse for my actions” which “led to my conviction and imprisonment”.
“I am very sorry for the effect my conduct had on those directly and indirectly involved. It should never have happened and I deeply regret what I did,” he added.
“I now want to concentrate on the future and want to demonstrate through my actions that I am committed to repaying them for their support.”
Asked whether the future for Johnson meant a return to football, his father Dave Johnson said “no comment”.
There has been debate over whether Johnson should be allowed to return to his lucrative playing career, with convictions charity Unlock saying he should not be “punished forever”.
As a sex offender, he has to register his address and bank details with police and inform officers of any intention to travel out of the country.
During sentencing, Judge Jonathan Rose said the victim had “suffered severe psychological harm” and he accused Johnson of having repeatedly lied.
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