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Texas man, 22, sentenced to 23 years in prison for using Grindr to lure and assault gay men

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Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas, was sentenced to 23 years in prison for using gay dating app Grindr to ‘locate’ gay men to an apartment where he would attack them

A Texas man has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for using the popular LGBTQ dating app Grindr to “locate” gay men to his apartment, where he and three friends attacked and robbed them at gunpoint.

Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas, was convicted Wednesday, admitting that he had used the dating app to assault and assault nine men, ages 19 to 57, in the Dallas area. He is the last of four men to be convicted in connection with the plan.

Jenkins pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, carjacking, one count of hate crimes and one count of using a firearm during and in connection with a violent crime, the Justice Department said in a statement.

As of December 2017, Jenkins and his friends Michael Atkinson, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon and Daryl Henry, all in their twenties, faked profiles on Grindr and invited gay men to a Dallas apartment complex.

When the men arrived, Jenkins and his friends held them at gunpoint and forced them to drive to local ATMs to withdraw money from their accounts. The suspects also forced the suspects to give up their belongings, including their wallets, cash, car keys, cars, driver’s licenses and identification cards, credit and debit cards, and cell phones.

In one case, on December 11, 2017, Jenkins admitted that the group held five victims at gunpoint before robbing, beating and sexually assaulting them while taunting them with homophobic statements. They sexually assaulted at least three of the victims, and one of the suspects is also charged with urinating and wiping human feces on at least one victim, the Justice Department said.

Jenkins admitted to using the dating app to assault and assault nine men, ranging from 19 to 57 years old, in the Dallas area

Jenkins admitted to using the dating app to assault and assault nine men, ranging from 19 to 57 years old, in the Dallas area

Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon will serve 22 years in prison for his role in the crimes

Michael Atkinson will serve just over 11 years in prison

He was the last of four men finally found guilty in June of committing hate crimes from December 2017. In one case, the group held five victims at gunpoint before they were robbed, beaten and sexually assaulted.

Daryl Henry was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement

Daryl Henry was sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement

“This defendant targeted innocent victims of violent crimes simply because he thought they were gay,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a press release announcing Jenkin’s conviction.

She added: “This sentence affirms that bias-motivated crimes are against our national values ​​and underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to aggressively prosecute bias-motivated crimes, including crimes against the LGBTQI community. We will continue to pursue justice for victims of prejudice-motivated crimes wherever they take place.”

Atkinson, Ceniceros-Deleon and Henry also pleaded guilty in June and have since been convicted. Atkinson will serve just over 11 years in prison, Ceniceros-Deleon will serve a 22-year sentence, and Henry was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The FBI’s Dallas Field Office conducted the federal investigation and the Dallas Police Department is conducting a separate criminal investigation.

“The Justice Department will not tolerate this kind of horrific hate-based attacks,” acting US Attorney Chad Meacham for the Northern District of Texas said in a press release. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, bigots often lurk online. We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to remain vigilant.”

Grindr has become one of the most popular dating apps among gay men since its release in 2009 and allows users around the world to see how far apart they are.

The app’s safety guidelines emphasize that users should be careful about meeting people they meet through the app, suggesting that they “do this first in public, in a safe space such as an LGBTQ-friendly cafe.” It also says to ‘be careful what belongings you take with you’.

In response to such hate crimes in Dallas, Mayor Eric Johnson last month announced the creation of the mayor's anti-hate advisory board, which consists of 16 community leaders from various advocacy groups in the city.

In response to such hate crimes in Dallas, Mayor Eric Johnson last month announced the creation of the mayor’s anti-hate advisory board, which consists of 16 community leaders from various advocacy groups in the city.

Special Agent Matthew J. DeSarno, of the FBI’s Dallas Field Office, said in a press release that Jenkin’s verdict sends a “strong message” that “violent, targeted attacks” will not be tolerated.

“Investigating hate crimes is one of the FBI’s highest priorities and we will continue to vigorously prosecute the perpetrators who threaten our families and communities,” he said. “Everyone deserves to be safe and to feel safe and we are taking this opportunity to encourage the public to report suspected hate crimes to the FBI and local law enforcement.”

In response to such hate crimes in Dallas, Mayor Eric Johnson last month announced the creation of the mayor’s anti-hate advisory board, which consists of 16 community leaders from various advocacy groups in the city.

“We cannot afford to ignore or trivialize hate,” he said in a press release. “No one should feel uncomfortable or unsafe in Dallas because of who they are, because of their race or ethnicity, their sexual and gender identity, their religion or their national origin.”

He said the advisory council would be tasked with “advising me and our police on ways our city can respond to new threats and old prejudices, help facilitate meaningful dialogue among people, and increase tolerance and understanding in Dallas.” .

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