On a recent edition of KWGN's morning program Daybreak , co-host Natalie Tysdal was joined by Jason Granger, founder and CEO of Infinity Marketing Group, for a segment in which he showed off three phone apps that allow users to track the whereabouts of family or friends. But neither viewers nor staffers at the station knew at the time that Granger was arrested, convicted and served time in jail last year for stalking a former significant other.
According to the Boulder County District Attorney's Office, Granger was arrested in June 2015 in relation to offenses against the mother of his child. He was found guilty by a jury in July 2016 of extortion and stalking causing emotional distress, and the following September, he was sentenced to thirty days in jail and four years of probation.
Corresponding via email, Granger acknowledges being surprised that his actions, for which he expresses regret, fell under Colorado's stalking statute "in the technical legal sense.... I suppose that’s why I didn’t think about it when the TV station asked me to do a short segment about family tracking apps. They approached me simply for my professional experience in technology and apps and because I have a twelve-year-old daughter. And that was the position I was commenting on it from."
Of late, Granger has frequently served as a tech expert on Denver-area media outlets. He commented for 9News about Denver Startup Week in September, and last month, he weighed in about the new iPhone for the outlet. The Infinity Marketing Group website touts appearances on CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, as well as expertise in social-media management, SEO and mobile apps, and Granger was profiled in October by the Arvada Press. Until now, however, he has evaded attention for his troubles with the law.
Westword has obtained Granger's arrest affidavit, issued by the Longmont Police Department. The document is both troubling and extremely explicit, and we've decided not to share it here or specifically detail its contents in an effort to avoid re-victimizing the victim. (We've also omitted the name of Granger's daughter, which he included in his account, for similar reasons.) But in a general sense, the report maintains that Granger sent anonymous emails to his former spouse from multiple addresses threatening to divulge a closely held and potentially embarrassing secret.
The messages were delivered amid a custody dispute, and prior to offering his side of the story, Granger includes this preface: "Please understand that nothing in my response...is meant to be an excuse, but instead some insight into the events leading to this."
He writes that "before my arrest two years ago, I was one of the most attentive fathers you’d probably ever meet. I moved my work schedule around so I could be at every single event my daughter had. Parent/teacher conferences, parent lunch day where you get to go eat with them in the middle of the day, parent chaperone at her field trips and even every gymnastics practice and all her competitions. She was (and still is) my whole world."
Given this devotion, he continues, "you can imagine how distraught I was when her mother and husband told me they were moving to Connecticut so he could take a promotion in his father’s company, and they wanted to take [my daughter] with them. I did the right thing and fought it in court, as any father should, in my opinion. She was born here and raised here, all her friends were here and I was here. Her whole life was here. The judge praised me for being a good father but ultimately ruled that my daughter could leave. My lawyer later told me that it came down to the fact that my daughter has a half-sister with her mother and that it’s extremely rare that a court will split up siblings."
Granger admits that "I couldn’t understand why any of this was happening. I grew up believing that if you’re a great father and you love your child and are attentive and caring, that no one can ever take them away from you…but it turns out that’s simply not true. And when I found that out the hard way, I was devastated and I made an emotional decision that I cannot take back. I sent a series of emails that contained sensitive information about my daughter's mother in a last ditch effort at keeping my little girl from moving across the country to the East Coast. The sensitive information was where the extortion charge came from, and the emails were where the stalking charge came from, as it technically qualified as 'multiple unwanted contacts.'"
These acts represented "a ridiculously stupid decision," Granger concedes, "and I simply hope that one day [my daughter's] mother and her husband can forgive me."
In regard to the Daybreak bit, broadcast on October 19, Granger notes that "me and my daughter’s mother don’t use family tracking apps at all, actually. The three that I showcased on the segment were ones I had researched for them after they asked me to speak on it. It was purely a technical review."
He adds that Channel 2 personnel "weren’t aware of my previous legal issue, so please don’t fault their staff for that. They’re extremely nice people who were just looking for some technical insight that might help give parents some peace of mind when their children are at school or out with friends. I can’t imagine how I would feel if [my daughter] went missing and I had no way to find her. So I understand why they thought the segment was important to their viewers."
Here's the audio from the broadcast, illustrated with screen captures:
Brian Gregory, news director for KWGN and Fox31, was in only his second week on the job when Granger guested on Daybreak; Gregory succeeded Holly Gauntt, now in the same position at Denver 7. He provided Westword with a statement via email about the situation and whether it would lead to a change in policy when it comes to choosing on-air experts.
"Jason Granger was referred to us by a local public relations executive as someone who could be an expert on tech stories," Gregory writes. "We rely on PR firms to vet their clients before they pitch them to us to appear on broadcasts. We will now take additional proactive steps to prevent this from ever happening again."
The extortion and stalking conviction certainly qualifies as sensitive information along the lines of the revelations Granger threatened to make about his ex-partner — and he emphasizes that he's very sorry about what he did.
"It is something that I think about and that saddens me on a daily basis," he allows. "Not just for the pain it caused the mother of my child, but also for how it prevented my daughter from seeing me for the days I was away [in jail]. It was hard on her, and knowing that, I don’t think I can ever forgive myself."
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