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A veteran producer from CNN has been indicted on federal charges of sex crimes involving children, says the Department of Justice.
John Griffin, 44, was arrested by the FBI on Friday after a federal jury in Vermont decided to charge him with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Griffin, who lives in Stamford, Conn., allegedly tried to persuade the parents of minors through messaging apps, such as Kik and Google Hangouts, to allow Griffin to teach their underage daughters how to be sexually submissive.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that, in June 2020, Griffin allegedly communicated with the mother of two girls, ages nine and 13, telling the woman it was her responsibility to ensure her daughters were “trained properly.” Griffin allegedly paid $3,000 to fly the mother and her nine-year-old child from Nevada to Massachusetts.
“The mother and child flew to Boston in July of 2020, where Griffin picked them up in his Tesla and drove them to his Ludlow house,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office. “At the house, the daughter was directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity.”
Through other messages, Griffin allegedly expressed his beliefs that women should be sexually subservient to men and that a “woman is a woman regardless of her age.”
The DOJ also alleged that Griffin attempted to lure two other children into sexual activity over the internet. They charge that, April 2020, he attempted to lead a “virtual training session,” which would have him instruct a mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothes and touch one another.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also alleged that Griffin “proposed to a purported mother of a 16-year-old daughter that she take a ‘little mother-daughter trip’ to Griffin’s Ludlow ski house for sexual training involving the child.”
CNN made a brief statement on Saturday.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing,” said a CNN spokesperson. “We only learned of his arrest yesterday afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge, Janeen Diguiseppi, from the bureau's Albany, N.Y. office also made a statement about their investigation into producer John Griffin.
“The allegations are deeply disturbing, and our office is committed to working with our partners at the United State’s Attorney’s Office District of Vermont to ensure Mr. Griffin is held accountable for his actions,” said Diguiseppi. “The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively investigate those who victimize the most vulnerable in our communities.”
It was not clear whether or not charges were pressed against the parents of the underage victims.
If convicted, Griffin faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years imprisonment per three counts and a maximum of life in prison. The federal government is also seeking the forfeiture of Griffin’s Ludlow home, vehicles and other property used in the commission of the crimes with which he is charged.
The news comes less than two weeks after CNN anchor Chris Cuomo was terminated from his position at the news network. Cuomo was accused of helping his brother, then-Governor Andrew Cuomo, after the New York politician allegedly sexually harassed women while in office.
According to a LinkedIn profile cited by People, John Griffin claimed to have worked “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Chris Cuomo since 2013.
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