A 17-year-old Canberra boy who used gay hookup app Grindr to threaten and extort gay men has been sentenced to six months in youth detention.
The boy and three others, including his older brother, were charged after they contacted two men on Grindr and demanded money from them and threatened to expose them as paedophiles.
One of the victims, a New South Wales man, later died by suicide.
Fairfax Media reported Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker said the boy, 17, was driven by greed and a “self-serving sense of vigilantism” when he lured two men and demanded they hand over cash and mobile phones in what Chief Magistrate Walker described as “calculated entrapment” of the two victims.
The ACT Children’s Court was told the boy contacted one of the men via the app, and later threatened to release a dossier of social media messages and photographs they’d shared unless the man paid them money.
The man met with the four males and they demanded he withdraw money from an ATM and give them his phone. He refused, and the teens later visited his house making further demands. He was found dead a few hours later, and the death was not treated as suspicious, Fairfax reported.
Chief Magistrate Walker described comments the boy posted to social media about the death as “callous” and said while there was “a close correlation” between the boy’s offending and the man’s suicide she couldn’t make a formal finding linking the two, according to the ABC.
She is reported as saying the boy “seems to have an immature view in which he has conflated homosexuality and paedophilia,” possibly motivated by sexual abuse his father had suffered as a child, and she “cannot be satisfied” he now thinks differently.
The boy was sentenced to 19 months’ detention, to be suspended from mid-August upon him entering a 12-month good behaviour order, Fairfax reported.
The two other boys and the older brother are still before the court on charges linked to the scam.
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