Felon Charged with Rape, Robbery of Gay Bears He Met Online

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com April 25 2013 5:52 PM ET

A man from Kent, Wash., has been arrested and charged with felony rape and robbery after he allegedly sexually assaulted at least one man he met through the online and mobile gay networking site Growlr, frequented by the burly, hairy gay men known fondly as bears.

Leverne Lee Maxwell, 32, is currently in jail awaiting trial on seven felony counts related to a week-long crime spree where police say he contacted men on Growlr, arranged dates, then sexually assaulted his victims at gunpoint, before robbing them, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Describing the attack, a Seattle Police detective told the P-I that Maxwell reached out to one man on Growlr, posing as a buyer for a Kindle eBook the man wanted to sell. When Maxwell arrived at the victim's home, he asked for a glass of water, then pulled out a gun and threatened to kill the man before sexually assaulting him. 

Four days later, another man was robbed at gunpoint inside his South Seattle home by a man he met on Growlr, reports the P-I.  That suspect also asked for a glass of water before brandishing a pistol and stealing the man's laptop and iPhone. 

Police allege that Maxwell robbed yet another man of his iPhone after holding him up at gunpoint on April 13. Investigators said they found a used condom and fingerprints linking Maxwell to the sexual assault, and note that several victims have positively identified Maxwell as their attacker.

Maxwell was arrested April 19, when he denied any theft and claimed he and the man he met on Growlr had consensual sex. Maxwell is an 11-time felon, reports the P-I , and has now been charged with first-degree rape, three counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of unlawful gun possession, and one count of first-degree burglary. He's currently incarcerated in King County, Wash., where his bail has been set at $750,000. He is scheduled to appear before a judge on May 6.