On Monday, John Griffin, a former CNN producer, pleaded guilty in federal court to an attempt to entice and coerce a 9-year-old girl to engage in sexual activity at his ski home in Vermont. Griffin worked for CNN for eight years before his arrest.
According to Griffin’s plea deal, he met a woman online during the summer of 2020 and persuaded her to bring herself and her 9-year-old daughter to meet him in person. Griffin paid to fly the woman and her daughter from Nevada to Boston, then drove them to his Ludlow, Vermont, for illegal sexual activity. The young girl said Griffin sexually assaulted her, court records show. Griffin allegedly paid $30,000 for a “mother-daughter weekend” with him and said he was “ashamed” of his behavior during his arrest. A federal indictment shows Griffin sought sexually submissive women and tried to gain access to their daughters, hoping to “train” young girls. The motion states that he told one parent he “had trained girls as young as seven years of age.” He is also accused of trying to entice minors over the internet.
Griffin initially pleaded not guilty to three counts of child sex trafficking. He was indicted by a grand jury and arrested in December 2021. Griffin will be sentenced in March 2023 and could receive a life sentence. He may also be assessed with fines and will have to pay financial restitution to the family. He is being held in a Cheshire County, New Hampshire, prison without bail.
U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher’s motion for Griffin’s pretrial detention was approved by presiding Judge Sessions. Drescher expressed concern that Griffin had tried to buy his way out of the situation and could be a potential threat to others if he was not detained until sentencing,
“[Griffin] has a history of mental illness and substance abuse, and he recently admitted to continuing to use intoxicants,” Drescher’s motion noted, “He faces not only a significant loss of liberty but also extraordinary reputational damage. He has dishonestly tried to talk his way out of being held accountable. He has tried to buy his way out of trouble. There is no set of conditions that can assure the Court of his continued appearance or address the danger he presents if released.”
Griffin is friends with and worked for former newsman Chris Cuomo during his time at CNN.