Police sting leads to men who used gay hookup app Grinder to lure boys for sex abuse
Oklahoma police investigators made 11 arrests, including two who used the app to target young victims.
Thu Mar 12, 2020 - 7:36 pm EST
PAWNEE COUNTY, Oklahoma, March 12, 2020 An Oklahoma sheriff says two men arrested and charged with the rape of minors used a homosexual hookup app to precisely target underage boys for “gay sex.”
The homosexual app Grindr was mentioned by Sheriff Mike Waters of Pawnee County, Oklahoma, in a Tulsa News on 6 report as the tool used to lure the underage boys. The report says the investigation began when a middle school student notified police that an older classmate made a vulgar proposal to him.
The arrests of the two men who used Grindr as a lure were part of a larger police sting, reported Tulsa News on 6 on March 10. The sting resulted in the arrests of 11 men by Oklahoma police investigators. One of the charges of the suspects has been dropped.
The Tulsa News on 6 report says, and court records show, that Grindr was directly used by two of the arrested men, 25-year-old Thomas Muench and 25-year-old Quinton Griesel, for the purpose of targeting their victims. The news report also says a court affidavit shows one of the charged men, Griesel, engaged in “sex acts” with a male teenager in a bathroom stall at Pawnee High School.
Griesel worked in the school cafeteria and was arrested in early February after the boy he is accused of raping contacted the police. He was booked for sodomy, second-degree rape, and lewd acts to a child under 16. A Tulsa Channel 8 report says a court affidavit shows that the boy and Griesel connected on Grindr and met in a school bathroom after lunch to engage in the illegal and lewd “sex acts.”
Another court affidavit shows that the other man charged with rape, Muench, also met his victim, a 15-year-old boy, on Grindr. According to police, this sexual abuse crime was not committed on school property.
The other suspects are facing a multitude of charges from soliciting a minor for sex and child porn, to lewd acts with a minor. Penalties for persons found guilty of even having one image of child porn can face up to 20 years in prison. This goes up to life in prison should a person be found with more than 100 child porn images
Grindr describes itself as the world’s most used social networking app for homosexuals, bisexuals, transgenders, and queer people. The app is owned by a Chinese business, which has caused concern that Chinese intelligence uses it to collect the sensitive personal information of its users, such as HIV status, messages, and where a person is located. It had around 27 million users as of 2017.
According to police, all of the arrested suspects were aware — or at least thought — that they were talking to boys under age 18. Court records show that some of the men were talking with undercover police.
The Tulsa News on 6 report quoted Sheriff Waters as saying the 11 arrests for sex crimes were “jaw dropping, it's unbelievable.”
“The public needs to know; the parents need to know how dangerous this is,” he added.
The reality of the targeting of youths for the purpose of sex trafficking is that it is a growing problem in the United States, as the recent documentary about sex trafficking, Blind Eyes Opened, shows.
Mike Fisher, who serves as the Pawnee and Osage County District Attorney, said in the Tulsa News on 6 report that kids do not “understand how dangerous this is,” adding that “I can guarantee the parents don't.”
Fisher also noted that the best way to combat this type of situation is “old-fashioned parenting,” adding that parents should not be afraid to look at their kid’s phones.
Jonathon Van Maren of LifeSiteNews published a blog in 2018 titled “10 reasons not to give your child – or teen – a smartphone.” In his blog, Van Maren goes over the dangers of smartphones for young children, citing examples of why parents should be more guarded when it comes to what kinds of technology they let their kids access.
A September Breitbart News report listed Grindr as one of the “top 15 potentially dangerous apps parents should look for on their kid’s smartphones.”
The NCOSE has a webpage dedicated specifically to male sexual exploitation that states: “The media, politicians, and society at large have all failed to adequately address the experiences of boys and men involving sex trafficking, prostitution, child sexual abuse, sexual objectification, or early childhood exposure to pornography. As a result, countless men and boys suffer in silence without receiving the appropriate services for recovery.”