[ Carolyn's Home Page ] [ Main Abortion Page ] [ Guestbook ] [ E-Mail ]
Florida: Man Given Probation in Coercive Abortion Case
Source: 2/7/99 Miami Herald

TAMPA -- The first time Nicholas William Griffin saw his daughter was in a photograph, as a judge gave him a scolding and probation for trying to force the girl's mother to have an abortion.

The picture was of the infant at 10 weeks with her mother, Griffin's classmate at the Stetson University College of Law. Griffin and two friends had tried to blackmail the 38-year-old woman into having an abortion.

"This is one of the most bizarre cases I've ever seen, especially in terms of the people standing before me," Circuit Judge Richard A. Lazzara said Friday. "You would presume these would be rational human beings."

Griffin, the son of a St. Petersburg lawyer, was known as a bright law student when he clerked for a federal judge in Tampa.

The woman told Lazzara that Griffin "mistakenly believed I valued my job and my reputation more than the life of my child.

"I lost my job because of this, and I am raising my infant single-handedly," she said, reading from a piece of paper she held in her trembling hands. "Although (Griffin) helped conceive this baby, he wanted me to kill her. . . . The defendant shows no remorse. He is a man with no honor and no integrity."

Griffin admitted threatening the woman.

He told her he wouldn't marry her. When she refused to get an abortion, he enlisted friends: brothers James Dunlap Allen III, 32, of Jacksonville and Jeffrey Scott Allen, 30, of Winston-Salem, N.C.

Griffin and the woman had made a videotape of themselves having sex. Griffin edited it, removing portions that identified him. He and the brothers called the woman several times, threatening to give copies of the sex tape to her family, friends and employer if she didn't get an abortion.

James Allen mailed her a copy of the videotape, then telephoned and repeated the threat. Griffin pleaded guilty to one count of using the mail and the telephone to carry out extortion. He told the judge his conduct stemmed from fear.

"I was scared, emotional, completely out of my mind," he said. "Any idea seemed reasonable at the time."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Lawson called Griffin's behavior "nasty, vile and disgusting," and said: "Someone needs to put honor into this man's heart."

"The lesson he needs to learn is that his daddy, his daddy's money, his charm and his smile won't get him out of trouble," Lawson said.

Lazzara sentenced all three men to five years of probation. Griffin also was ordered to perform 250 hours of community service, and was given 10 months' house arrest. "I thought long and hard about giving him a taste of prison," the judge said. "But I have a feeling Mr. Griffin has been living through his own personal hell."

Griffin's lawyer, Frank Louderback, told the judge his client would suffer for years to come. Though Griffin has passed the bar exam, the felony conviction could prevent him from being admitted to the Florida Bar.

[ Carolyn's Home Page ] [ Main Abortion Page ] [ Guestbook ] [ E-Mail ]