2 charged in violent spree of attacks targeting gay men on Grindr

https://abcnews.go.com/US/charged-violent-spree-attacks-targeting-gay-men-grindr/story?id=63390388

Authorities have charged two men with federal hate crimes in Dallas over a violent spree of kidnappings and robberies that targeted gay men on Grindr.

Daryl Henry, 22, and Daniel Jenkins, 20, were charged with multiple counts in connection with a string of attacks where victims were allegedly lured to a Dallas apartment through the gay dating app and ordered to hand over their valuables, authorities revealed Thursday.

Federal prosecutors said they lured at least nine “dates” to a vacant apartment in December 2017. Some victims said they were beaten, robbed, sexually assaulted and called homophobic slurs, according to a superseding indictment unsealed this week. The victims ranged in age from 19 to 57.

PHOTO: TThe Grindr app is seen on an iPhone.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
TThe Grindr app is seen on an iPhone.

At least one of the men said they were kidnapped and held for ransom and another said the suspects smeared human waste on them. All of them said they were forced to withdraw money from an ATM at gunpoint, authorities said.

The plot came to light on Dec. 11, 2017, when one of the men managed to escape and call 911. He led police to an apartment where officers found four other victims lying face down in an empty bedroom.

One victim’s face was covered with blood.

“Members of the conspiracy forced the victims at gunpoint to relinquish their possessions, including their wallets, money, car keys, cars, drivers’ licenses and identification cards, credit and debit cards, and cellular telephones,” the Department of Justice said in a statement Thursday. “Four of the victims were physically assaulted, three were sexually assaulted, and some victims were called gay slurs.”

“The indictment further alleges that Jenkins and Henry caused bodily injury to four victims because of their actual and perceived sexual orientation,” it added.

Henry and Jenkins were both charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit hate crimes, kidnapping, carjacking and other offenses. They could face up to life in prison if convicted as charged.

Erin Nealy Cox, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said the charges are an example of the district’s zero tolerance for hate.

“Criminals are using apps like Grindr to single out victims based on their sexual orientation,” Nealy Cox said in a statement. “My office is committed to rooting out these despicable crimes motivated by hate.”

At least one of the men, Henry, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, according to The Dallas Morning News.