A CNN senior producer who once bragged about working “shoulder-to-shoulder” with former anchor Chris Cuomo has been charged with seeking to coax underage girls to his home by offering to train them to be “sexually submissive.”
John Griffin, 44, appeared Friday in federal court via Zoom in New Haven, Connecticut, after being indicted by a grand jury on 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 in Vermont.
He was accused of using messaging apps to communicate with the alleged parents of underage girls, “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,” said the office in a press release.
“On these communication platforms, Griffin sought to persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive,” said the release.
In a statement, CNN said that it had suspended Mr. Griffin, who worked most recently as a producer for senior political analyst John Avlon.
Before that, Mr. Griffin said on LinkedIn that he was senior producer for CNN’s “New Day,” working “shoulder-to-shoulder with lead anchor Chris Cuomo, seeing him through each show and producing live breaking news across the country and around the world.”
Mr. Cuomo left “New Day” in May 2018 to host “Cuomo Prime Time.” He was fired Dec. 4 for violating the network’s standards by helping his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, fight allegations of sexual misconduct.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing,” a CNN spokesperson said in a Saturday email to The Washington Times. “We only learned of his arrest yesterday afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Mr. Griffin sought from April to July 2020 to “persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive,” using Kik and Google Hangouts to try to lure them to his house Ludlow, Vermont.
In June 2020, Mr. Griffin told a mother of two girls, ages 9 and 13, that it was her responsibility “to see that her older daughter was ‘trained properly.’” He then paid $3,000 for the mother and the younger daughter to fly from Nevada to Boston Logan International Airport.
“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 statement. “At the house, the daughter was directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity.”
In April 2020, Mr. Griffin sought to engage in a “virtual training session” via video chat in which he would instruct “the mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothing and touch each other at his direction.”
Two months later, Mr. 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,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Spector said he would issue an order for Mr. Griffin to be transferred to Vermont, the Stamford [Connecticut] Advocate reported.
A Stamford resident, Mr. Griffin previously worked as a producer for ABC News, Fox News Channel, and CBS News, according to his bio.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence on each count of 10 years to life in prison.
“The indictment includes a notice that states the federal government intends to seek the forfeiture of Griffin’s Ludlow house, his Tesla, a Mercedes, and other property that was used in the commission of the charged offenses,” said the prosecutor’s statement.