Texas Man Gets 20 Years for Using Grindr to Target Gay Victims

A man who participated in four home invasions last year in which gay men were tied up and assaulted was sentenced Monday to 20 years in federal prison.

Anthony Shelton, who was 19 at the time of his indictment last year, is the third Frisco man to be sentenced for the federal hate crime. A fourth is awaiting trial.

They are accused of using Grindr, a social media dating platform for gay men, to arrange to meet victims in January and February 2017 in homes in Plano, Frisco and Aubrey, federal prosecutors say. Authorities reported four home invasions in those cities.

Once inside a victim's home, the men, who were armed, bound the victim with tape, beat him up and made derogatory statements to the victim for being gay, federal authorities say. They also stole property from the victim, including his vehicle.

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As part of a plea agreement, Nigel Garrett, 21, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison this past January for his involvement in the hate crimes. Chancler Encalade, 20, received a 10-year sentence in February.

Cameron Ajiduah's case is pending trial. He was 18 at the time of his indictment.

“The Department of Justice will not tolerate any act of violence targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, race, color, religion, disability, or national origin,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Department will continue to investigate and prosecute hate crimes cases.”

“This case highlights the danger of the internet and specifically, online apps,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown for the Eastern District of Texas. “In this case, the defendants misused the internet for sinister purposes in order to target an innocent man based on his sexual orientation, causing him bodily harm and damage to his property.”