US: Attacker used dating apps to rob and rape gay men

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Police in the US state of Washington say a man used gay dating phone apps to set up encounters with gay men at remote locations and then robbed them at gunpoint.

Leverne Lee Maxwell, 32, is accused of seven felony charges, including raping one of his victims at gunpoint.

Seattle PI reports Maxwell, already convicted of 11 previous offences, was arrested on 19 April and charged with first degree rape, three counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of unlawful gun possession and one count of first-degree burglary.

He denied the rape, claiming it was consensual sex, and also denied robbing anyone or using a gun to do so.

According to the charge papers, Maxwell used a phone belonging to the mother of his two-year-old child to contact his victims. Investigators were able to link Maxwell to the rape through a used condom and fingerprints, as well as a handgun recovered from his apartment.

Maxwell remains in custody on a $750,000 (£485,971) bail and is expected to appear in court on 6 May.