Texas man pleads guilty in scheme to target gay men through dating app

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN) — A Dallas man pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges Wednesday in connection with a scheme to target gay men for violent crimes by using the dating app Grindr, authorities said.

Authorities said Daniel Jenkins, 22, pleaded guilty to one hate crime count, one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping and carjacking, and one count of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

Jenkins admitted that he and the other defendants used Grindr, a dating app used primarily by gay men, to lure men to a vacant apartment and other areas around Dallas for robbery, carjacking, kidnapping and hate crimes over the course of a week in December 2017, according to court documents.

Court documents stated Jenkins admitted that he and others physically injured at least one victim and taunted victims based on their perception of the men’s sexual orientation. Jenkins admitted to pointing a handgun at the victims and taking personal property, like money and a car.

“These defendants brutalized multiple victims, singling them out due to their sexual orientation. We cannot allow this sort of violence to fester unchecked,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas. “Unfortunately, predators often lurk online.”

Jenkins was the last of four defendants to plead guilty to charges stemming from the scheme.

In March 2019, Michael Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping charges. In December 2019, Daryl Henry and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime and other charges, authorities said.

Jenkins faces a sentence of up to 26 years in prison. Sentencing is set for Oct. 6, authorities said.

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