The man, Daniel Jenkins, was part of a group that used the Grindr app to lure gay men into a Dallas apartment complex to rob them and attackers, prosecutors said.
Texas man was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison on Wednesday for logging in in a scheme that used the popular app dating Grindr to target gay men for violent hate crimes, prosecutors said. Image Daniel Jenkins, 22, was the last of four defendants to be convicted in what prosecutors have saidlabeled as a plot to target gay men. Credit ... Dallas County Sheriff's Department
The man, Daniel Jenkins, 22, from Dallas, pleaded guilty in June to one count of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, carjacking, a number of times created hatred and one count of using a firearm during and in connection with a crime of violence, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement .
Mr. Jenkins was the last of four defendants to be convicted of the conspiracy that used Grindr, a social media app primarily used by gay men.sex.
It was not immediately clear whether Mr. Jenkins had a lawyer.
" This defendant has targeted innocent victims for violent crimes simply because he believed them to be gay, "said Deputy Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Justice. Rights Division said in the statement. She added that the sentence "underscores the Department of Justice's commitment to aggressively prosecute bias-motivated crimes, including crimes against L.G.B.T.Q.I. community.
The ploy began in December 2017 when Mr. Jenkins and a co-conspirator created profiles on Grindr to lure men to places where they were. would steal, the Justice Department said.
In an incident earlier this month, after the men arrived, the members of the conspiracy held the manThey were at gunpoint and forced them to drive to ATMs to withdraw money from their accounts, according to the Justice Department.
In another incident this month, Mr Jenkins admitted, according to prosecutors, that he and others " lured several victims "into an apartment complex, pointed them out with a handgun, stole their property and assaulted them, injuring one of them.
Mr. . Jenkins told investigators that members of his group used homosexual slurs and taunted the victims and that a member attempted to sexually assault one of the victims, the Justice Department said.
Prosecutors said Mr Jenkins also admitted to participating in the hijacking of at least one victim.
Mr. The Jenkins co-conspirators werehave Michael Atkinson, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon and Daryl Henry, all in their twenties. The three men pleaded guilty in June and their sentences ranged from 11 to 22 years.
"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, bigots are often in hiding in line, "Chad Meacham, acting US attorney for the North Texas District, said in a statement. "We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to be vigilant.
Grindr is one of the many dating apps that have gained popularity among LGBTQ people users and have helped redefine the way they meet. Released in 2009, Grindr is a geolocated application that tells its millions of users around the world how far away they are.
In his safety instructions , the company suggests that if anyone wishes to meet a other app user, "do it first in public, in a safe space like an LGBTQ + friendly cafe, and be careful of what goods you take with you.
The company did not immediately respond to comments on the case on Thursday.