By Alan J. Keays/VTDigger
A mother accused of transporting her 9-year-old daughter from Nevada to Vermont for so-called “sexual training” with a man who worked as a CNN producer is facing felony sex abuse charges.
The mother’s identity is being withheld because doing so could identify the victim of the sexual abuse.
John Griffin, 44, of Stamford, Connecticut, who had worked at CNN for the past eight years was also arrested, federal authorities announced on Friday, Dec. 10.
Court records from the Henderson Justice Court in Henderson, Nevada, outlined three charges filed against the woman in August 2020: lewdness by a person over the age of 18 with a child under the age of 14; sex assault against a child under the age of 14; and child abuse or neglect in the first degree.
The records detail a trip she told authorities she made to Vermont with the child in July 2020 to meet a man she identified as “John Griffin.” They describe the same scenario as the charging documents against Griffin: In both sets of documents, authorities say Griffin picked up the woman and her child at Boston Logan International Airport in Massachusetts in a Tesla and they all drove to his second home in Ludlow, Vermont.
According to the records in Griffin’s case, he paid more than $3,000 to the woman he had been communicating with on sexual social messaging apps to travel to Vermont with her 9-year-old daughter to engage in unlawful sex acts and learn to be submissive to men.
In July 2020, he forced the girl into unlawful sex acts he purported to be “sexual training,” according to the indictment against Griffin.
The documents from Nevada indicated that the woman and the child stayed at Griffin’s residence, which the woman described as a “cabin with a garage and three floors.”
The woman added that she had brought several sex devices with her on the trip and used them with Griffin and forced the girl to take part, according to the documents.
The case against the woman remains pending. It’s not clear why it took more than a year for the FBI to arrest and charge Griffin.
Sarah Ruane, an FBI spokesperson, said Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 14, she could not comment on the woman’s case because it is being handled by Nevada authorities and did not respond to a follow-up question about the timeline in charging Griffin.
The indictment against Griffin also charged that he had twice unsuccessfully tried to coax parents online to help lure children to engage in unlawful sexual acts. He faces three counts of “using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity” related to the incident in Ludlow and the two other attempts.
He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
According to his LinkedIn page, Griffin worked as a producer for Chris Cuomo at CNN and more recently as a producer for John Avlon, a CNN senior political analyst.
CNN issued a statement following Griffin’s arrest stating that he had been suspended pending an investigation. He was fired on Monday, Dec. 13, according to Newsweek.
Griffin, at a court hearing on Friday, Dec. 10, in Connecticut, was ordered to remain in custody pending his return to Vermont where a hearing is expected to take up whether he’ll remain in custody as he awaits trial.
Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of Griffin’s Ludlow ski home, his Tesla, a Mercedes, and other property that authorities say was used in carrying out the charged offense.