Dallas man sentenced in plot targeting gay men for violent crimes using a dating app

The Grindr app logo on a mobile phone

By Madeline Holcombe, CNN

(CNN) -- A Dallas man has been sentenced in a scheme to target gay men for violent crimes using the dating app Grindr, according to the Department of Justice.

Daniel Jenkins, 22, was sentenced Wednesday to a maximum of 26 years in federal prison on charges including kidnapping, carjacking and hate crimes. He is the last of four defendants to be sentenced in the case, according to a release from the DOJ.

Jenkins pleaded guilty to the charges in June.

"This defendant singled out victims based on their perceived sexual orientation, then viciously assaulted them. The Department of Justice will not tolerate these sorts of heinous, hate-based attacks," said Acting US Attorney Chad Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. "Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, bigots often lurk online. We urge users of dating apps like Grindr to remain vigilant."

The plot began in December 2017, according to the release. Jenkins and a co-conspirator created profiles on Grindr to lure men to locations where they would rob them, the DOJ said.

On one occasion, Jenkins admitted that he and a group of others brought multiple victims to an apartment complex where they robbed them at gunpoint and assaulted them, injuring at least one of the victims, the release said.

Members of the group used gay slurs as they taunted victims, and one of the perpetrators attempted to sexually assault a victim, the DOJ said Jenkins admitted.

The other men -- Michael Atkinson, Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon and Daryl Henry -- also have pleaded guilty, and their sentences range from 11 to 22 years in prison.

"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," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

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