Former CNN Producer John Griffin Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison for Child Sex Charges

Former CNN Producer John Griffin Sentenced to 19 Years in Prison for Child Sex Charges
John Griffin in an undated photo. (Vermont State Police via AP)
Caden Pearson

A federal judge has sentenced former CNN television producer John Griffin to 19 years in prison for his involvement in luring a 9-year-old girl into illegal sexual acts in Vermont.

Griffin, a resident of Stamford, Connecticut, had previously pleaded not guilty in 2021 but changed his plea to guilty in December of last year.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont charged Griffin with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity. As part of his plea deal, two counts of enticement of a minor were dropped by the government.

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge imposed 15 years of supervised release for Griffin.

The indictment revealed that from April to July 2020, Griffin used messaging applications such as Kik and Google Hangouts to communicate with people purporting to be parents of minor daughters. He attempted to persuade these parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive.

During this period, Griffin successfully convinced a woman to travel with her daughter from Nevada to Massachusetts, where he picked them up in his Tesla and transported them to a ski house in Ludlow. It was there that he engaged in sexual activities with both the woman and her 9-year-old daughter.

Griffin made additional attempts to entice two other children. In April 2020, he tried to engage a mother and her 14-year-old daughter in a video chat, instructing them to engage in sexual activity. In June 2020, he also attempted to have a purported mother bring her 16-year-old daughter to his Ludlow ski house for similar purposes.

Prior to his arraignment in federal court in Vermont, prosecutors described Griffin as a troubled individual who should be held without bail, citing his drug abuse and statements made during his arrest.

When Griffin was arrested, he made statements that were deemed indicative of his “volatility and dangerousness.” According to a court filing, he purportedly said to authorities: “Without incriminating myself, I just want to let you guys know that I’m ashamed you even know my name at all,” and added, “In the time I’m with you guys, in the event I do anything inappropriate, I just want you to know that I’d feel the same way you guys would if I were in your situation. Thank you.”

When asked by Magistrate Judge Robert Spector, Griffin admitted to using drugs and alcohol in the 24 hours before his first court appearance after his arrest, where he appeared via Zoom, Fox News reported.

“Yes, Your Honor,” he replied. “I am confident it was long enough ago that I am bone-dry sober at this point.”

At the hearing, Griffin consented to be extradited to Vermont.

Fired Following Allegations

Griffin, who had been a longtime producer for CNN’s “New Day,” was fired in December 2021 following the allegations.

Subsequently, he faced a $15 million civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the 9-year-old victim referred to as “Jane Doe.”

The lawsuit claimed that between April and July 2020, Griffin invited three women and their underage daughters for the purpose of sexual training. It also alleged that Griffin filmed drone footage showing a “completely naked 9-year-old girl” standing next to him while he was in his underwear. During an interview with FBI agents, Griffin initially suggested he was not looking at the naked girl, despite their close proximity.

“When confronted with this video during an interview by FBI agents, Griffin’s first response was merely to suggest he was not looking at the naked girl, despite that she was standing so close to him to be touching,” the prosecutor’s pretrial detention memo stated.

The woman who brought the 9-year-old to Griffin’s residence in Vermont, identified as the girl’s adopted mother in court documents, was charged in 2020 with child abuse and other counts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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