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Former CNN Producer Sentenced To Nearly 20 Years In Prison For Disturbing Child Sex Crimes

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James Lynch Investigative Reporter
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Former senior CNN producer John J. Griffin was sentenced to nearly 20 years in federal prison Tuesday for luring a pre-teen girl into sex acts, the Manchester Journal reports.

Griffin, 45, lured the adopted child and her mother to Windsor County, Vermont, to have sadomasochistic sex with the child and he will spend 19.5 years in prison for his crimes, according to the Manchester Journal. Griffin will spend time on supervised release after his prison term comes to an end, District Court Senior Judge William K. Sessions III said.

The court will delay a fine and a potential restitution order until it has more information about Griffin’s current and future financial worth, the judge said, according to the outlet. He could be fined up to $250,000 and has to pay $5,100 in court costs. Griffin forfeited over $1.1 million to the court and Sessions agreed the money could be put towards restitution. (RELATED: CNN’s Dana Bash Claims ‘There Is No Evidence’ Of Legal Double Standard After Hunter Skips Jail Time In DOJ Deal)

The disgraced CNN producer’s money came from selling his half of the home at Okemo Mountain, where he sexually abused the child over the course of a week, the Journal reported, citing court records. Griffin also sold a 2018 Mercedes Benz vehicle he used to drive the adopted child and her mother, both of whom are unnamed in the report.

A settlement in a multi-million dollar civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim in Connecticut is still under consideration in a probate court, the Journal reported.

The victim, who was adopted by her grandmother, has attempted suicide twice and spoke to the court about the trauma caused by Griffin’s abuse, according to the outlet. She said she has no friends besides dogs and cats, and does not allow hugs or touches, even from her family. She said she fears Griffin will come after her when he is released from prison and expects the trauma to stay with her for the rest of her life, the Journal reported.

Judge Sessions barred Griffin from contacting the victim and ordered him to stay away from anyone under 18 unless he gets approval from a probation officer, according to the outlet.

“I admire your courage, your strength,” Sessions told the victim, the Journal reported. “You are a very courageous, smart accomplished person.”

Griffin graduated from Princeton University in 1999 and worked for CNN from April 2013 to December 2021, when he was arrested. “The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing,” a CNN spokesperson said after Griffin’s arrest. “We only learned of his arrest yesterday afternoon and have suspended him pending investigation.”

Griffin pleaded guilty to a felony sex charge in December 2022 and admitted to knowingly inducing a child under 18 to engage in sexual activity between June 14, 2020 and July 24, 2020, the Journal reported. The adopted mother trained the child victim on the sex acts and brought sex toys to their trip to Vermont, court records allegedly show.

“I am deeply remorseful,” Griffin said, according to the outlet. “People were no longer people. They became screen names.”