A Texas man pleaded guilty to federal hate crime charges after he lured gay men using a dating app and then robbed and kidnapped them at gunpoint, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement Thursday.
22-year-old Daniel Jenkins admitted that he and his co-conspirators used Grindr, a dating app primarily used by gay men, to find gay men and lure them into a vacant Dallas apartment or other location over the course of about a week in December 2017, according to the DOJ statement.
Daniel Jenkins, 22, pleaded guilty ystrday to hate crime charges stemming from a scheme to target gay men on @Grindr.
— Erin Dooley (@erindooley) June 3, 2021
After luring the victims, Jenkins and the co-conspirators would hold them against their will and rob or carjack them at gunpoint, then withdraw cash from the victims’ accounts at local ATMs. Jenkins also admitted that he and the accomplices injured at least one victim and taunted the victims because they perceived the victims as gay, the DOJ stated.
Jenkins and the co-conspirators lured nine victims to the apartment complex between Dec. 6 and Dec. 11, 2017, CBS DFW reported in 2019. Four victims were reportedly physically assaulted, three were sexually assaulted, and some were taunted with gay slurs.
One of the assailants reportedly urinated and wiped human feces in at least one victim, according to CBS DFW.
Acting U.S. Attorney Prerak Shah of the Northern District of Texas told dating app users to use caution as the DOJ prosecutes hate crimes. “These defendants brutalized multiple victims, singling them out due to their sexual orientation. We cannot allow this sort of violence to fester unchecked,” Shah said. “We urge dating app users to remain vigilant. Unfortunately, predators often lurk online.”
Co-conspirator Michael Atkinson pleaded guilty to kidnapping and conspiracy charges in March 2019 as part of the scheme targeting gay men, according to the DOJ. Months later, Daryl Henry and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime and other charges in connection to the scheme.
Jenkins is the last of four defendants to plead guilty to charges related to the scheme. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 6 and he faces up to 26 years in prison, as part of plea agreement terms.
A Louisiana man was indicted on hate crime charges in March for allegedly trying to kidnap and murder gay men that he met on Grindr. (RELATED: Man Indicted For Attempting To Murder, Kidnap Gay Men Using Grindr App)