The senior detective in charge of the Adam Johnson investigation said the case should be a warning to others - and a sign victims will be taken seriously.
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Inspector Aelfwynn Sampson, of Durham Constabulary, welcomed the “carefully considered and significant sentence” handed to Johnson, who was first arrested in March last year.
Recap on the trial and sentencing hearing here
Related article: Adam Johnson sentenced to six in prison for child sex offences
The police officer also gave evidence about the investigation during the trial.
She said: “Fame, celebrity and a position of power does not give you the right to break the law in pursuit of whatever you desire.
“Members of the public are clearly entitled to express their opinions but the law remains clear and Adam Johnson broke it.
“He partially admitted his guilt and was found guilty of a more serious count after trial.
“The age of consent is clear. It is set at 16 to protect young people from adults and also themselves.”
DI Sampson continued to say that Johnson’s intentions to the girl were “clear” as he gave evidence at his trial, which ran for almost three weeks.
The police officer continued: “He pleaded guilty to grooming her for sexual activity fully knowing how old she was from the start. She never lied about her age to him.
“He groomed his victim and gave her his personal phone number, arranged to meet her and gave her special gifts of signed shirts.
“Over a period of time they exchanged hundreds of messages. He made her feel special and admitted flirting with her to manipulate the schoolgirl in an attempt to satisfy his sexual desires.
“This girl should have been safe but she was used by the public figure she looked up to most. I hope today will bring some closure for her and her family.”
She added: “This case demonstrates that victims of these crimes will be taken seriously and perpetrators will be dealt with robustly.”