A Dallas man who targeted gay men using dating apps in 2017 faces up to 26 years in prison after pleading guilty to numerous criminal charges, including kidnapping and hate crimes.
Daniel Jenkins, 22, is the last of the four defendants to accept a plea deal for “planning a program against gay men on the dating app Grindr,” according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas .
Jenkins will be convicted on October 6, after admitting guilty Wednesday, on charges of hate crimes, charges of hate crimes, conspiracy, kidnapping, car theft and charges of using a firearm in a crime.
According to the statement, Jenkins admitted that he and his co-conspirators “used Grinr, a social media dating platform primarily used by gay men, to move gay men to empty homes and other areas in and around Dallas for Lure robberies. Kidnappings and hate crimes over the course of about a week in December 2017. “
As part of the plea deal, Jenkins admitted that he and the other three men had sacrificed against their will.
They also threatened the victims with firearms and took away their personal belongings.
In addition, some victims’ cars were confiscated and, in some cases, ordered to withdraw money from ATMs.
“He also admitted that he and his co-conspirators physically injured at least one victim and mocked the victims because of the co-conspirators’ perceptions of the sexual orientation of men,” the statement said.
In March 2019, Michael Atkinson, 26, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kidnapping charges arising out of his involvement in the scheme.
Daryl Henry, 25, and Pablo Ceniceros-Deleon, 20, pleaded guilty to hate crimes and other charges related to the case in December 2019.
The sentencing of these three defendants is scheduled for June 23.
“These defendants have brutally treated several victims and singled them out based on their sexual orientation. We cannot allow this type of violence to escalate uncontrollably,” said acting US Attorney Prerak Shah.
“The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting hate crimes. In the meantime, we urge users of dating apps to remain vigilant. Unfortunately, online predators often lurk.”