Former CNN senior producer John Griffin, 44, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to using interstate commerce to ultimately lure, coerce, and rape a 9-year-old child in his Vermont home.
According to the unsealed indictment, Griffin boasted online that he had groomed young girls “as young as 7 years old” and stated that inside any female is a “wanton whore” exploitable “regardless of her age.”
Griffin pleaded guilty Monday to “using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity” — one of the three charges brought against him.
The Associated Press indicated that, as part of the plea deal, the government will drop two enticement of a minor counts against Griffin.
Griffin still faces a lengthy prison sentence and the government can seek between 10 years and life in prison, as well as a fine of up to $250,000.
Griffin was arrested in December of last year after he was charged by a grand jury in Vermont with three counts of “using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity.”
He is accused of luring a mother and her young daughter to come to his home to “train” her to be sexually submissive.
Griffin began working with CNN in 2013, on the show New Day when Chris Cuomo was the show’s host. His most recent role was acting as a producer for CNN senior political analyst John Avlon.
According to a statement from the Department of Justice, from April to July of 2020, Griffin allegedly used online messaging applications, Kik and Google Hangouts, to communicate with people claiming to be the parents of minor daughters. He allegedly conveyed to them, among other ideas, that a “woman is a woman regardless of her age,” and that “women should be sexually subservient and inferior to men.”
According to the indictment, from April to July of 2020, Griffin utilized the messaging applications Kik and Google Hangouts to communicate with people purporting to be parents of minor daughters, conveying to them, among other ideas, that a “woman is a woman regardless of her age,” and that women should be sexually subservient and inferior to men. On these communication platforms, Griffin sought to persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive.
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. At the house, the daughter was directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity.
In April 2020, Griffin held a “virtual training session” via video chat, instructing a mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothing and touch each other.
In June of 2020, Griffin advised a mother of 9- and 13-year-old daughters that the mother’s responsibility was to see that her older daughter was “trained properly.” Griffin later transferred over $3,000 to the mother for plane tickets so the mother and her 9-year-old daughter could fly from Nevada to Boston’s Logan airport.
When the mother and her daughter flew to Boston, Griffin picked them up from the airport in his Tesla, and drove them to his home in Ludlow, Vermont. This is where the daughter allegedly was directed to, and did engage in unlawful sexual activity at Griffin’s request.
The Daily Mail reports that in June 2020, prosecutors claim Griffin offered to pay for a woman and her 16-year-old daughter to come to his ski house in Vermont for sexual “training” involving the teen.
Griffin is then said to have mentioned how he “sexually trained girls as young as 7 years old,” according to the indictment.
The statement goes on to state that he “attempted to entice two other children over the internet to engage in sexual activity.”