Two Men Charged With Hate Crimes for Using Grindr App to Lure Gay Victims to Dallas Apartment for Beatings, Robberies

Two men have been charged with federal hate crimes for using the Grindr app to lure at least nine gay men to a vacant Dallas apartment where they allegedly beat, robbed, threatened and humiliated them, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.Daniel Jenkins and Michael Atkinson committed the armed assaults during the first two weeks of December 2018, according to the 15-count indictment.The defendants remain in custody. Their attorneys could not immediately be reached for comment.Jenkins and Atkinson are charged with conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, carjacking, and using a firearm during a crime of violence. At least one victim was sexually assaulted with an object inside the apartment, the indictment says. Another was urinated on and smeared with feces, according to the indictment.The victims ranged in age from 19 to 57. Most were under 30. The alleged assaults and robberies at gunpoint took place in the Solana Ridge apartment complex east of Dallas and south of Interstate 30, the indictment said.Grindr is a social networking app for gay, bi, trans and queer people. The defendants used it to create fake profiles and "pose as gay men interested in 'dates' to lure gay men," the indictment said.During the assaults, the men were held at gunpoint inside the apartment and subjected to gay slurs and beatings, the indictment said. The victims were robbed of their wallets, money, car keys, cars, driver's licenses, identification cards, cell phones and credit cards, according to the indictment.One victim was forced to drive to an ATM, the indictment says. And Atkinson drove to one victim's house to take property from him, the indictment said."Criminals are using apps like Grindr to single out victims based on their sexual orientation. My office is committed to rooting out these despicable crimes motivated by hate," said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox, of the Northern District of Texas.Jenkins and Atkinson were arrested the third week of August 2017. The indictment was filed earlier that month. It was updated on Jan. 8 with additional counts.  Continue reading...

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