A Texas man was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years in federal prison for his connection to a scheme that used the popular dating app Grindr to target gay men for violent hate crimes, prosecutors said.
Daniel Jenkins, a 22-year-old man from Dallas, pleaded guilty in June to one count of hate crime, kidnapping, carjacking, one hate crime count and one count of conspiracy to use a firearm during and in connection with the crime of violence, according to the Justice Department. said in a statement.
Mr Jenkins was the last of four defendants sentenced for conspiracy to use Grindr, a social media app primarily used by gay men.
It was not immediately clear whether Mr Jenkins had a lawyer.
“This defendant targeted innocent victims of violent crimes simply because they believed they were gay,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the statement. He said the sentencing “underlines the Justice Department’s commitment to aggressively prosecute crimes motivated by prejudice, including crimes against the LGBTQI community.”
The Justice Department said the plan began in December 2017 when Mr Jenkins and a co-conspirator created profiles on Grindr to lure men to locations where they would rob them.
According to the Justice Department, in an incident earlier that month, after the men arrived, conspiracy members held the men at gunpoint and forced them to go to an ATM to withdraw cash from their accounts.
In another incident that month, according to prosecutors, Mr Jenkins admitted that he and others “lured several victims” into an apartment complex, pointed guns at them, robbed their belongings and attacked them, causing One of them got injured.
The Justice Department said Mr Jenkins told investigators that members of his group used homosexual slurs to taunt victims and that one member attempted to sexually assault one of the victims.
Prosecutors said Mr Jenkins also admitted to participating in the murder of at least one victim.
Mr Jenkins’s co-conspirators were Michael Atkinson, Pablo Seniseros-Delaney and Daryl Henry, all in their 20s. Three men pleaded guilty in June, and their sentences ranged from 11 to 22 years.
“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, older people often lurk online,” Chad Meachum, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a statement. “We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to be cautious.”
Grindr is one of several dating apps that have grown in popularity among LGBTQ users and helped redefine the way they meet. Released in 2009, Grindr is a location-based app that Millions of users worldwide How far are they from each other?
in his safety guidelines, The company suggests that if someone wants to meet another user of the app, “do so in public first, in a safe place like an LGBTQ+ friendly cafe, and be careful about what property you take with you.” “
The company did not immediately respond for comment about the matter on Thursday.