The fourth and final defendant has been sentenced in the case of criminals who robbed and assaulted gay and bisexual men they met through Grindr.
Daniel Jenkins, 22, of Dallas was sentenced Wednesday to 23 years and four months in federal prison, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, which prosecuted the case via the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas.
In June, Jenkins pleaded guilty in federal court to one hate-crime count, one hate-crime conspiracy count, kidnapping, carjacking, and one count of using a firearm during a crime of violence. The three others had pleaded guilty and been sentenced earlier.
Over the course of about a week in 2017, according to prosecutors, the defendants used Grindr to lure gay and bi men to vacant apartments in and around Dallas. Then the defendants committed crimes including robbing the men at gunpoint, taking items including their vehicles, forcing them to withdraw cash from ATMs, and taunting them with antigay slurs. One victim was smeared with feces and urinated on, and one sexually assaulted with an object, according to court records. There were nine victims in all.
“This defendant targeted innocent victims for violent crimes simply because he believed they were gay,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said of Jenkins. “This sentence affirms that bias-motivated crimes run contrary to our national values and underscores the Justice Department’s commitment to aggressively prosecuting bias-motivated crimes, including crimes against the LGBTQI community. We will continue to pursue justice for victims of bias-motivated crimes, wherever they occur.”
“This defendant singled out victims based on their perceived sexual orientation, then viciously assaulted them,” added Chad Meacham, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas. “The Department of Justice will not tolerate these sorts of heinous, hate-based attacks. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, bigots often lurk online. We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to remain vigilant.” There have been several other similar crimes.
In the Dallas case, in March 2019, Michael Atkinson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping charges, and in December 2019, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon and Daryl Henry pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime and other charges. Atkinson was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison, Ceniceros-Deleon to 22 years, and Henry to 20 years.