LOGAN — A 44-year-old Providence father is being held in jail without bail, accused of child kidnapping, endangerment and other drug and alcohol offenses. Jason W. Griffin has been behind bars since being arrested August 23.
Griffin appeared in 1st District Court Tuesday afternoon. He has been charged with one count of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony; five counts of permitting a child to be exposed to a controlled substance, a third-degree felony; and five misdemeanors.
Cache County Sheriff’s deputies allege that Griffin had been hosting parties for minor females at his home. He allegedly bought the 12 and 13-year-old girls alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette machines. The girls were all apparent acquaintances of the suspect.
The investigation began after one girl’s mother discovered Snapchat messages on her daughter’s cellphone. She spoke with other mothers, who also discovered similar messages from the suspect.
According to a probable cause statement, Griffin said in some chats that he was sad and lonely. In another message, he allegedly said, “If I could adopt you all I would be the luckiest dad in the world.”
While interviewing the alleged victims, one of the girls said that after her parents took away her cellphone as a punishment, Griffin gave her his cellphone “so that he could stay in contact with her, check on her and tell her that he loves her.”
Investigators claim that Griffin later helped the girl flee by driving her in his car, while she was being tended by her grandparents. Under Utah Law, because he transported the girl without the consent of her parents, it is considered child kidnapping and endangerment.
During Griffin’s arraignment last week, prosecutors had asked for him to be held in jail without bail. They claimed that he was trying to “groom” the girls.
During Tuesday’s hearing, public defender Bryan Galloway asked the court for a hearing, where they will decide whether they want to have a preliminary hearing held. It was scheduled for September 17.
Griffin could face up to life in prison if convicted.