The 15-year-old girl whom footballer Adam Johnson is alleged to have had sex with has been named online.
The disclosure comes despite firm police warnings to social media users about the seriousness of naming anyone who may or may not be a victim of a sexual crime.
However, a number of online trolls have identified the underage girl, the Mirror reported.
Durham Constabulary, which is investigating the allegations against Johnson, released a statement yesterday making it clear that those who flouted the law would face the consequences.
"Anyone who identifies someone who may or may not be a victim of a sexual offence is committing a criminal act, Durham Constabulary has reiterated," it said.
"Victims of sexual assault are guaranteed the legal right to lifetime anonymity and publishing any details, including on social media, which may lead to their identification, is contrary to the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992.
"Durham Constabulary wishes to remind social media users, and anyone else, who breaks the law that they will be dealt with robustly," the statement added.
Sunderland midfielder Johnson was arrested at his £1.8 million mansion in Co Durham on Monday, on suspicion of engaging in sexual activity with the underage girl.
The 27-year-old’s family have said he is innocent of any crime and his girlfriend, Stacey Flounders, is also standing by him. She is believed to have given birth to their daughter just a few weeks ago.
Today it was reported that police raided Johnson’s home following a tip-off from the girl’s father. The 15-year-old is alleged to have "boasted" about a relationship with the footballer.
Johnson has been suspended by Sunderland Football Club pending an outcome of the investigation. He has been released on bail until 18 March.Reuse content