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Wash. Man Jailed For Robbing, Raping Man He Met on Growlr

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Apr 26, 2013
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A man from Washington state was arrested and charged for raping and robbing a man he met using a gay hookup app, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.

Leverne Lee Maxwell, of Kent, Wash. (an outlying suburb of Seattle), is accused of going on a crime spree in early/mid April. According to charge papers, Maxwell, 32, allegedly raped one man at gunpoint in Seattle and robbed several other men after he met them on Growlr, a website and mobile app similar to Grindr that’s aimed towards the bear community.

According to a Seattle Police detective, Maxwell allegedly told the man he met on Growlr, he wanted to buy a Kindle eBook reader the victim was trying to sell. Once he was inside the man’s home, he asked for water and became very aggressive.

"You’re a little (anti-gay slur) aren’t you," Maxwell told the man, according to charging papers. "You’re gonna suck my (expletive)," he continued. Maxwell then pulled out a pistol and threatened to kill the man before he raping him.

Similar incidents continued. Four days later, another man was robbed at gunpoint in South Seattle by a man he met on the app. The detective said Maxwell also asked for a glass of water during the incident - just before he pulled out the gun. Maxwell allegedly stole a laptop and an iPhone during the robbery.

On April 13, Maxwell allegedly robbed another man at gunpoint and stole his iPhone. According to the authorities, the victim said he met Maxwell on Scruff, an app similar to Grindr and Growlr. The incident prompted Scruff founder Eric Silverberg to release a statement. He said officials from the social networking app respond to reports of "inappropriate and irregular behavior" and that he encourages users to take precautions before meeting each other in person.

"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," Silverberg said. He added police have not yet contacted SCRUFF about the alleged robbery.

Investigators say they found a used condom and fingerprints that link Maxwell to the rape. They also found a handgun in Maxwell’s apartment. The weapon matches a description given by one of the victims. Additionally, they claim that have a video of Maxwell selling a stolen phone.

The charge papers say Maxwell used a phone belonging to the mother of his 2-year-old child to find the men. Many of the victims have identified Maxwell as their attacker.

Maxwell, an 11-time felon, was arrested on April 19 but he denies raping the man. He did say, however, they did have consensual sex. He also denied robbing the men and using the gun. He has been 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 is currently in jail on $750,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on May 6

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