CNN Employee Charged Over Sexual Abuse of Underage Girls

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Posted: Dec 11, 2021 3:30 PM
CNN Employee Charged Over Sexual Abuse of Underage Girls

Source: AP Photo/Ron Harris

A CNN staffer was charged on three counts of using a facility to interstate commerce to try and entice underage girls to sexually abuse them.

A grand jury in Vermont on Friday indicted 44-year-old John Griffin on attempts to entice minors to engage in sexual activity using online chatting applications.

"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," the Department of Justice said in a statement. "On these communication platforms, Griffin sought to persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive."

"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," the statement continued. "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."

The DOJ added that the indictment includes "specific allegations that Griffin attempted to entice two other children over the internet to engage in sexual activity." 

These allegations include Griffin proposing a "virtual training session" over a video chat in April 2020 that would include him telling a mother and her 14-year-old daughter to strip their clothes and touch each other at his command.

He also proposed to a purported mother of a 16-year-old girl in June 2020 that the two of them visit his Ludlow ski house for sexual training involving the adolescent.  

For each count, Griffin would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years of imprisonment and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment if convicted, the DOJ noted.

"We take the charges against Mr. Griffin incredibly seriously," a CNN spokesperson said in a statement Friday. "We only learned of his arrest this afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation."

Griffin, who was hired by CNN in 2013, most recently served as a producer for CNN Senior Political Analyst John Avlon.

This comes after CNN terminated anchor Chris Cuomo last week, just days after he was suspended over documents released by the New York state attorney general showing that he was more involved in the defense of his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, amid sexual harassment accusations made against the governor than was previously known. 

CNN said the documents gave the company "cause to terminate" and, after "new allegations" brought during the suspension that a former colleague of Cuomo's from his tenure at ABC News accused the anchor of sexual misconduct, the network decided to terminate his employment immediately.

And anchor Don Lemon is expected to face a court battle early next year after a man sued him for sexual misconduct. The accuser, Dustin Hice, claims the encounter included Lemon putting his hand down the front of his shorts, "vigorously" rubbing his genitalia and putting the same hand onto Hice’s face while asking a vulgar question.