John Griffin, a former producer for a mainstream news network, has been sentenced to over 19 years in prison. His conviction is for luring a 9-year-old girl to a Vermont ski cabin for illicit sexual activity.
The sentencing announced on Tuesday at a U.S. District Court in Vermont, includes an additional 15 years of supervised release following Griffin’s prison term, reports The Associated Press.
Griffin entered a guilty plea in December, admitting to “using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity,” as stated by VTDigger.
Although two other charges against Griffin were dropped as part of the plea deal, he was terminated from his position at the news network shortly after the indictment.
In addition to his prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions III ordered Griffin to pay $1.1 million in restitution. The sentencing met a middle ground between Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Drescher’s request for a 21-year sentence and the defense’s plea for the minimum 10 years required under the deal.
Drescher called the crime one of the worst imaginable offenses. “Short of ending a person’s life it’s hard to imagine a worse offense,” Drescher said.
The young victim, now three years older, bravely confronted Griffin through a video appearance during the sentencing, with the support of her grandmother.
“The child that you raped was my granddaughter. You forever ruined a 9-year-old girl,” the grandmother emotionally declared.
The young girl’s own statement was heartrending. “I’ll never trust anyone again,” she said, “You make me sad and angry.”
Commending the girl’s courage, Judge Sessions acknowledged her strength in speaking out. Meanwhile, Griffin expressed deep remorse. Judge Sessions, however, described Griffin’s actions as “beyond the pale.”
According to court documents, Griffin had coaxed a Nevada woman and her then-9-year-old daughter to visit him in July 2020, covering over $3,000 in travel expenses. While at his cabin, the young girl was coerced into performing sexual acts, as per the prosecutors.
Prosecutors further argued that this incident was part of a larger pattern of predatory behavior. Griffin had reportedly been persuading parents to bring their underage girls to him for so-called “training” about sex.
This case underlines the critical importance of safeguarding the most vulnerable among us and holding those who exploit them to the fullest account. The 19-year sentence, though a mere fraction of the lifetime impact on the victim, does demonstrate a commitment to upholding justice and punishing egregious violations of trust.