A CNN staffer was arrested on three charges related to sexual abuse Friday after allegedly enticing women over the internet to allow him to teach their daughters sexual acts.
John Griffin, a CNN producer who has since been suspended, was indicted by a grand jury in Vermont of "using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity." The Department of Justice said Griffin used the texting app Kik and Google Hangouts to coerce women into letting him teach their underage daughters how to be "sexually subservient" to men, claiming "women are women, regardless of age."
"The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing," a spokesperson for CNN told the Washington Examiner Saturday. "We only learned of his arrest yesterday afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation."
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Griffin paid $3,000 to a mother of a 13-year-old and a 9-year-old so the mother and younger child could fly to meet him in Boston from Nevada, officials said. The mother and daughter met him at the airport in July 2020 and were taken to his house in Ludlow, Vermont, where the daughter was "directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity," according to the DOJ. He also attempted to entice two girls, ages 14 and 16, over the internet to engage in sexual behavior with their mothers, the indictment alleges.
Prior to his arrest, Griffin had worked for CNN since 2013 and was most recently a producer for CNN's Senior Political Analyst John Avlon.
Griffin had his first federal court appearance Friday in New Haven, Connecticut, via Zoom. District Court Judge Robert Spector said he would file a request to have Griffin transferred to Connecticut. If convicted, Griffin faces a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years in prison for each charge and a maximum of life in prison.
Federal prosecutors are also seeking the forfeiture of Griffin’s Ludlow residence, his Tesla, a Mercedes, and other property that was used in carrying out the charged offense, according to the DOJ.
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The producer's arrest is another setback for the network. CNN fired former anchor Chris Cuomo last week after he was accused of professional impropriety in his involvement in defending his brother, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid a flurry of sexual harassment allegations, which he has denied.
CNN anchor Don Lemon also received scrutiny when actor Jussie Smollett alleged Lemon had warned him about police not believing his story of being a victim of an alleged hate crime. On Thursday, the actor was found guilty on five of six charges of lying to authorities about his role in orchestrating the incident three years ago.