Connecticut man John Griffin was arrested Friday and charged with three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont said in a news release.
Griffin, 44, has been a producer with CNN for about eight years.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing,” a spokesperson for the network said in a statement Saturday. “We only learned of his arrest yesterday afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.”
The charges stem from conversations between Griffin and the purported parents of minor daughters, in which he allegedly tried to persuade them to “allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive,” as well as an incident in which prosecutors allege unlawful sexual activity occurred with a 9-year-old girl, the news release said.
CNN has not been able to identify an attorney for Griffin.
According to an indictment filed on Thursday, Griffin allegedly paid for and kept an online profile on a “BDSM dating, Fetish, and Kink Site” for several years leading up to July 2020, on which he allegedly wrote he was looking for women who were “sexually ‘submissive’ and ‘open-minded.’”
During conversations on separate online platforms, Griffin allegedly said he believed in “a way of life” in which “women are sexually subservient and inferior to men,” according to the indictment. He allegedly used online platforms to seek parents “who would allow him to train their minor daughters to be sexually subservient,” the indictment said.
Around February 2020, Griffin allegedly acquired a Vermont ski house in which he offered to host mothers and their minor daughters for “sexual training” purposes, according to the indictment.
Between April and June 2020, prosecutors allege Griffin talked online with the purported father of a 14-year-old girl and separately, the mother of a 16-year-old girl, proposing they begin “sexual training,” the indictment said.
In June and July, Griffin also allegedly talked online and on the phone with someone who claimed to be the mother of two girls, 9 and 13, according to the indictment.
Griffin allegedly paid more than $3,000 to the woman to fly her and the 9-year-old girl to Boston in July, where prosecutors say he picked them up from the airport and brought them to the ski house “where the child was directed to engage in and did engage in illegal sexual activity,” the indictment said.
“The allegations are deeply disturbing, and our office is committed to working with our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office District of Vermont to ensure Mr. Griffin is held accountable for his actions,” the FBI said in a statement posted on Twitter Friday. “The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, will continue to aggressively investigate those who victimize the most vulnerable in our communities.”
If convicted, Griffin faces anywhere from 10 years in prison to a life sentence for each count, according to the news release.