Man Pleads Not Guilty to Charges He Lured Mother, Her 9-Year-Old to His Ski Lodge for Sex

A former television producer pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he paid for a woman to travel to his Vermont ski lodge with her 9-year-old daughter to engage in illegal sexual activity with them.

John Griffin, 44, of Stamford, Connecticut was arrested earlier this month on three counts of enticement and entered his not guilty plea in court in Burlington, Vermont on Wednesday.

Griffin allegedly had an account on a sex dating site for several years and had conversations with people who said they were parents of minors of varying ages, as Griffin was allegedly looking for minors he could "train to be sexually subservient," according to CNN's reporting of the indictment. The news organization confirmed Griffin worked for them for eight years and confirmed Wednesday they fired him following his arrest.

Prosecutors described Griffin as a wealthy man who "has tried to deceive, delete and spend his way out of being held accountable," according to court documents.

The motion filed by prosecutors for Griffin to be detained before the arraignment said in Sept. 2020, he was interviewed by FBI agents and told them he met the 9-year-old's mother on the website.

He allegedly told the agents he paid for the mother and 9-year-old to fly to meet him in July 2020 and took them to the ski lodge where they engaged in sexual acts in what he says was the mother's idea, but messaging records between the two suggest the two did it at Griffin's instruction, according to court documents.

John Griffin, Sex Abuse, Minors
This undated photo provided by the Vermont State Police shows John Griffin, of Stamford, Conn. Griffin, a television producer, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges that included having a Nevada woman bring her 9-year-old daughter to Vermont where she engaged in unlawful sexual activity at a Ludlow ski house. Vermont State Police via AP

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."

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.

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.

"The charges against Mr. Griffin are deeply disturbing," said an unnamed CNN spokesperson quoted in the story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.