A senior producer with CNN was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) after being accused of persuading minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity, federal officials said.
Officials with the U.S. Attorney's Office said 44-year-old John Griffin, of Stamford, Connecticut, was taken into custody on Friday after a federal grand jury in Vermont alleged that he used a facility of interstate commerce, the Ludlow house, to engage in such acts.
According to federal authorities, Griffin used messaging applications Kik and Google Hangouts to talk with people disguised as parents of minor girls, saying that a "woman is a woman regardless of her age" and that women should be sexually subservient and inferior to men.
A spokesperson with CNN told NBC New York that they've suspended Griffin pending an investigation.
“The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing. We only learned of his arrest [Friday] afternoon," the spokesperson said.
Griffin's goal was to persuade parents to allow him to train their daughters to be sexually submissive, according to officials.
Federal authorities said Griffin told a mother of a nine and 13-year-old that her responsibility was to make sure her eldest was "trained properly."
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He then sent the mother $3,000 for plane tickets so she and her younger daughter could fly from Nevada to Boston. Griffin allegedly picked up the mother and her 9-year-old and drove them to the Ludlow house, where she was directed to engage in, and did engage in, unlawful sexual activity, according to federal documents. This happened from April to July of 2020.
Another instance of unlawful sexual activity was noted in the federal indictment. Griffin allegedly tried to lure two other children over the internet to engage in sexual activity. In April of 2020, he proposed a virtual training session over video chat that would include him instructing the mother and her 14-year-old daughter to remove their clothing and touch each other at his command, according to federal officials.
Griffin also proposed to a mother of a 16-year-old daughter that she take a "little mother-daughter trip" to his Ludlow ski house for sexual training involving her teen, federal officials said.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Griffin faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison on each count. He has not yet been charged.
Federal authorities said they intend to seek that Griffin forfeits his Ludlow house, his Tesla, a Mercedes, and other property that was used in the commission of the charged offenses.
Griffin first appeared in court in New Haven on Friday, officials said.