A disgraced CNN producer accused of child sex abuse heard from the young victim that she will “never trust anyone again” as he was sentenced to more than 19 years behind bars.
John Griffin, 46, was ordered to serve 19 years in prison and 15 years’ supervised release at a US District Court hearing in Vermont on Tuesday.
Griffin, of Stamford, Connecticut, pleaded guilty in December to using interstate commerce for the enticement of a minor.
The Princeton University graduate told Judge William K. Sessions III that he acted without considering the consequences, because “people were no longer people, they became screen names” when he met them online, VT Digger reported.
Griffin, a father of three, convinced a woman he met online to bring her 9-year-old daughter to his $2.5 million Ludlow ski hideaway, where he molested the child, prosecutors said.
He also paid the mother $3,000 in July 2020 to fly from Nevada to Boston, where he picked them up in his Tesla and drove them to his home, and directed the girl to engage in sex acts.
The girl’s mother, Heather Carriker, has also been slapped with child abuse and child sexual assault charges, though there are no updates on her case.
As part of Griffin’s plea deal, the two additional charges against him of enticement of a minor were dropped.
Griffin’s hefty sentence comes a year and a half after he was arrested in December 2021 on multiple charges of inviting girls as young as 7 to his Vermont home for “sexual subservience” training.
The initial documents accused him of persuading women he met online that “a woman is a woman regardless of her age” and that he should be the one to sexually “train” their young daughters.
Griffin also attempted to entice two minors into sexual activity using apps like Kik and Google Hangout, the state’s attorney said.
In April 2020, for example, he allegedly suggested a “virtual training session” that would include him instructing a mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothing and touch each other.
Griffin initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, and was axed from CNN, where his LinkedIn indicates he worked as a senior producer for eight years following stints at ABC, Fox News and CBS.
On his profile, Griffin boasted that he worked “shoulder-to-shoulder” with since-ousted lead anchor Chris Cuomo. Behind-the-scenes images also show the two men huddled together between takes.
At the time of his arrest, the government sought to seize Griffin’s Ludlow property as well as his Tesla and Mercedes vehicles.
His wife, Allyson Griffin, filed for divorce and sought custody of the couple’s three children and ownership of their $4.5 million Norwalk mansion in January 2022.
Griffin’s attorney David Kirby tried to persuade Sessions to impose a lighter sentence on Tuesday, and alleged that his client had been struggling in a difficult marriage in addition to cocaine and alcohol abuse, VT Digger said.
Prosecutor Michael Drescher, however, excoriated Griffin, stating that “short of ending a person’s life, it’s hard to imagine a worse offense [than what he did].”
“Mr. Griffin knows what to say and when to say it,” he added, noting that he believed the veteran producer was also a calculated manipulator.
Griffin’s young victim and her grandmother also appeared at the hearing via video conference, the outlet reported.
“I’ll never trust anyone again,” the girl, who is identified as Jane Doe due to her age, explained to the judge.
“You make me sad and angry,” she told Griffin.
The child’s grandmother said the girl was “forever ruined” by Griffin’s actions.
At the end of the proceedings, Sessions concluded that he found Griffin’s behavior “beyond the pale.”
As part of his plea deal, Griffin cannot have contact with anyone under 18 years old, except in the presence of an appropriate adult approved by his probation officer.
He is also banned from areas frequented by minors such as playgrounds, schools and theme parks unless given permission by his probation officer.