2 Texas Men Charged With Hate Crimes For Using Grindr To Beat, Rob Gay Men

Authorities say Daniel Jenkins and Michael Atkinson subjected the men to gay slurs and smeared feces on at least one of them.
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A federal grand jury in Texas returned a 15-count indictment Tuesday charging two men with conspiracy to commit hate crimes after they allegedly used Grindr to assault, taunt and rob gay men.

Daniel Jenkins, 19, and Michael Atkinson, 24, are named in the indictment, which was unsealed on Wednesday, said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.

According to the indictment, during the first two weeks of December 2017, the two men used the popular LGBTQ dating app to lure at least nine men, ages 19 to 57, to a vacant Dallas apartment complex. Once inside, the defendants allegedly pointed guns at some of the men, subjected them to gay slurs, and took their wallets, cars and cellphones.

“At least five victims were physically assaulted, one was sexually assaulted with an object, and one was smeared with feces,” the state attorney’s office said.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Jenkins and Atkinson face a number of other charges, including kidnapping and carjacking. If convicted as charged, Jenkins and Atkinson could face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison.

The crimes are eerily similar to ones committed in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in January and February of 2017. In that case, four young men ― Nigel Garrett, Chancler Encalade, Cameron Ajiduah and Anthony Shelton ― were convicted of using Grindr to assault and rob gay men. The men were each sentenced to prison terms ranging from 10 to 20 years behind bars.

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