BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A television producer has pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges in connection with paying a Nevada woman to bring her 9-year-old daughter to Vermont to engage in illegal sexual activity at a Ludlow ski house.
John Griffin, 44, of Stamford, Connecticut, appeared in federal court in Burlington to plead not guilty to three counts of enticement. Court records say Griffin did not oppose a request by prosecutors that he be detained.
The detention request said Griffin is, “charged with a crime involving the sexual assault of a nine-year old child that carries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence upon conviction.”
In court documents, prosecutors described Griffin as a wealthy man who “has tried to deceive, delete, and spend his way out of being held accountable.” The documents also say Griffin also has a history of mental illness and substance abuse.
On Dec. 9, a Vermont grand jury handed down a three-count indictment against Griffin. He was arrested in Connecticut on Dec. 10.
Griffin’s Vermont attorney David Kirby declined to comment on Wednesday.
A motion for detention filed by prosecutors ahead of Wednesday's arraignment says that in a Sept. 2, 2020 interview with FBI agents, Griffin said he met the 9-year-old’s mother on a sex-themed website.
He said he paid for the woman and her daughter to fly to Boston in July 2020. He picked them up at the airport and drove them to his Ludlow ski house. He admitted to witnessing the child perform sex acts with her mother.
Griffin said the activity was the mother's idea, but that was contradicted by the contents of Griffin’s chat communications with the girl’s mother and other parents of minor girls that were discovered later, the court documents say.
The girl told investigators that Griffin sexually assaulted her while she was in Vermont and addressed her using derogatory terms, the court documents say.
Griffin also apparently attempted to “pay off” a potential witness, another relative of the 9-year-old girl, by making an electronic transfer to that relative of $4,000, the motion for detention says.
Griffin worked for CNN but has been fired since being arrested, the network said Wednesday.
On Dec. 11, the day after Griffin's arrest, CNN reported that he had worked at the network for about eight years.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing,” said an unnamed CNN spokesperson quoted in the story.