Gunman robbed and raped bears he met on dating apps

Serial felon accused of going on violent crime spree, meeting men off GROWLr and SCRUFF apps, holding them at gun point, and taking their property

Gunman robbed and raped bears he met on dating apps
25 April 2013

A gunman is accused of targeting ‘bears’ he met on gay dating apps for theft and rape.

The man from Kent, an outlying suburb of Seattle, is accused of having gone on a days-long violent crime spree and is now in jail on seven felony charges, reports Seattle Pi.

The most serious allegation against Laverne Lee Maxwell, aged 32, dates from 7 April.

Maxwell is accused of meeting a man on the GROWLr smartphone app for gay bears, holding him at gunpoint and raping him. He also stole several items from the man’s house in Seattle.

Charging papers say the gunman also robbed several other men he met on GROWLr.

Maxwell is said to have met another man on the SCRUFF app who he also held at gunpoint and robbed of his iPhone.

The charging papers further allege he used a phone belonging to the mother of his two-year-old child to contact the men.

Maxwell, an 11-time felon, denies raping the men, robbing them or using a gun but maintains they had consensual sex.

He is accused of first-degree rape, three counts of first-degree robbery, two counts of unlawful gun possession and one count of first-degree burglary.

He remains jailed on $750,000 (€574,000) bail. He is expected to appear on 6 May at King County Superior Court at Seattle.

GSN has contacted GROWLr and SCRUFF apps to offer them the chance to comment and is awaiting a response.

UPDATE: SCRUFF and GROWLr have now contacted GSN in response to the incident.

Coley Cummiskey, CEO of GROWLr, said he was contacted by detectives about this case and helped them with their inquiries.

He told GSN: ‘I have just put out a general announcement to all our members to say have fun but stay safe.

‘We suggest when you do meet up to do so with a friend and in a very public place. Our members’ safety is very important to us and we don’t want anything to happen to them but using common sense seems the most important thing.’

SCRUFF founders Eric Silverberg and Johnny Skadros said in a statement: ‘SCRUFF is one of the largest social dating apps on iOS and Android, used by millions of gay men around the world. We have numerous measures in our app to enable our members to report other profiles for inappropriate or irregular behavior. We additionally have a full-time support team to handle customer issues and reports, and we review reported profiles on a daily basis.

‘We take reports of harassment, threats and other illegal activity very seriously, and cooperate with local law enforcement to ensure swift and proper prosecution of such cases. Ultimately, we encourage all of our members to be safe and smart when meeting one another in person for the first time when using any social media app or website.

‘To date, SCRUFF has not been contacted by any law enforcement officials regarding this case.’



No thumbnail available

Kyrgyzstan human rights group passes ‘gay propaganda’ bill

Similar to Russia's own anti-gay laws, the European Union has described it as one of the most sweeping homophobic draft laws in the world
No thumbnail available

Liverpool football player calls team mate gay on Twitter

Spanish player Suso could be in trouble with the FA and Liverpool FC
No thumbnail available

'People are people are people,' says Asia's human rights defender

Gay Star News talks to Asia's deputy director of Human Rights Watch, who is heavily involved in defending the rights of LGBT people in the region
BREAKING: Six injured in Jerusalem Pride stabbing

BREAKING: Six injured in Jerusalem Pride stabbing

Ambulance services confirm two people being treated for serious injuries
No thumbnail available

Nest in Cagliari, Sardinia this spring

Urban flamingos and a gay scene make the historic seaside city of Cagliari, capital of the Italian island, pretty in pink
No thumbnail available

Pope and priests are pushing gay teens to suicide, survivor warns in mass letter

A gay former Catholic has written a powerfully personal letter to thousands of leaders around the world in an attempt to help save lives
Bill introduced to regulate residential programs claiming to help LGBTI youth

Bill introduced to regulate residential programs claiming to help LGBTI youth

Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L Jean: 'It isn’t "treatment" to withhold food and water from a youth'
No thumbnail available

Maine celebrates first gay marriages

US state is the eighth to offer gay couples full marriage equality, and many celebrated with midnight weddings
No thumbnail available

Malaysia state to challenge repeal of cross-dressing ban

Top court bars five other states from intervening
No thumbnail available

Federal judge brings statewide clarity to confusing gay marriage situation in Alabama

Probate judges must issue licenses to same-sex couples but ruling on hold until US Supreme Court rules on pending marriage cases