In September 2022, Jack Diamond hit the first hattrick of his career, as his three goals secured Lincoln City a 6-3 away win in League One.
Just six months later, the diamond in the rough’s loan spell has ended following rape and sexual assault charges from the CPS.
News broke on Thursday of charges brought against the Sunderland winger.
Diamond, 23, was on loan at Lincoln City at the time, but that has since been terminated with immediate effect.
His parent club Sunderland have suspended him to allow for the charges to be heard in court.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “In May last year, we received a report that a woman had been sexually assaulted inside an address in the Washington area. An investigation was immediately launched and a man was subsequently arrested.
“Jack Diamond, 23, of Fatfield, Washington, has now been charged with one count of rape and one count of sexual assault and is due to appear at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court in May.”
The incident allegedly took place in May last year, meaning Diamond’s loan agreement with Lincoln City had not been agreed and confirmed at the time.
He would go on to join the Imps on a season-long loan in August 2022, and he has been an important part of the head coach Mark Kennedy’s system since arriving at the LNER Stadium.
Diamond is Lincoln’s second top scorer this season, finding the net six times in 31 League One appearances, including a first career hattrick in a 6-3 win away at Bristol Rovers.
He has scored a total of eight goals for Lincoln City in all competitions this season.
Both his parent club, Sunderland, and loan club, Lincoln City, confirmed the news but declined to offer further comment given the ongoing legal proceedings.
In a statement, Sunderland said: “Sunderland AFC has been notified that criminal charges have been brought against Jack Diamond by the Crown Prosecution Service.
“The player has been suspended with immediate effect, pending the outcome of the judicial process, and his loan agreement at Lincoln City Football Club has also been terminated.
“As this matter is subject to a legal process, the club will not be making any further statement at this time.”
Lincoln City added: “Jack Diamond’s loan spell at City has been terminated with immediate effect.
“The club are unable to make any further statement at this time.”
Professional football is, unfortunately, no stranger to cases like these.
Numerous high-profile cases involving Premier League footballers and their alleged sexual conduct have hit the courts in recent times, prompting calls for education of the topic across the board.
Sunderland’s decision to immediately suspend Diamond is different to that of former Black Cats winger Adam Johnson, who was jailed for six years in March 2016 following charges relating to sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl.
Johnson, now 35, continued to play for Sunderland throughout his bail period, and was sacked by the club after guilty pleas in court led to his jail sentencing.
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