A fourth man in Texas has pled guilty to charges related to a scheme using Grindr to lure gay men for robbery and assault.
Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas, pleaded guilty to one count each of a federal hate crime, conspiracy, and use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. The crimes in question took place over a one-week period in December of 2017. Michael Atkinson, Pablo Cineceros-Deleon, and Daryl Henry had all pleaded guilty in 2019.
"These defendants brutalized multiple victims, singling them out due to their sexual orientation," Prerak Shah, acting U.S. Attorney, said in a statement announcing the plea bargain. "We cannot allow this sort of violence to fester unchecked."
"No one should have to live in fear of violence because of who they are, where they are from or what they believe," FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno said in a statement. "We will continue working with our law enforcement and community partners to detect and prevent violent incidents motivated by hate or bias."
According to court documents, in 2017 the four men created a fake profile on Grindr for the purposes of luring gay men to an empty apartment in the city where they intended to beat and rob the victims. Jenkins admitted to meeting the victims at their car, and then luring them inside where his three cohorts awaited. Once inside, the victims were forced at gunpoint to surrender their wallets, phones, car keys, and anything of value. The victims all reported being beaten and pistol-whipped. Two victims reported they were urinated on and smeared with feces. Jenkins also admitted to withdrawing money at ATMs from the victim's bank accounts, physically injuring at least one of the victims, and taunting them with homophobic slurs and epithets. The four men were arrested when the last victim was able to escape and alert police.
Police across the country and globe have been investigating crimes against gay men who were targeted and lured by criminals using the Grindr app. Atlanta police warned the community of multiple robberies against gay men after arriving for a date or hookup arranged on Grindr. An elderly man in Australia was subjected to horrific torture and abuse by two straight men who used the app to lure the man they wrongly thought had molested a friend years earlier. Charlie Caire, 20, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, aggravated blackmail, aggravated assault, and other charges for his role in the brutal, drug-frenzied torture of the elderly man using an electric drill, taser, pruning shears, knives, and worse. In Louisiana, a Jeffrey Dahmer fan was charged in the torture, attempted dismemberment, and attempted murder of a gay teen he lured on Grindr. Chance Seneca, 19, attempted to strangle and amputate the hands of Holden White, 18, in Lafayette last year. The attack left White with partial paralysis and a lifetime of medical care for his injuries.
Jenkins will be sentenced on October 6 and faces up to 26 years in prison as part of his plea bargain agreement.
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