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Seneca sentenced in "Grindr" kidnapping, attempted murder case

Posted at 3:07 PM, Jan 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-25 22:34:33-05

A Lafayette man has been sentenced to 45 years in federal prison for his guilty plea in a kidnapping case.

Chance Seneca, 21, pleaded guilty in September to kidnapping a man he met on Grindr. That was in the federal case against him. He also faces a charge of attempted second-degree murder in state court; there's a "pleading" in that case set for March.

WARNING: Some may find the details of this story disturbing.

Last September, Seneca pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping. He admitted to U.S. District Judge Robert Summerhays that he used Grindr, a dating app, to kidnap and try to kill a gay man. He said he used Grindr specifically to propose a meeting with the victim, drove the victim to an isolated house, then handcuffed and tried to murder and dismember the victim.

Seneca told the judge that he intended to murder and dismember the victim for the purpose of satisfying his homicidal urges, and that he had planned to continue murdering until he was caught or killed.

According to a release, the court rested its sentence on many factors, including its determination that the defendant intentionally targeted the victim and other gay men because of their gender and sexual orientation.

“No one should ever be subjected to the type of horrendous actions that this defendant inflicted upon the victim in this case,” said United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown. “The victim never thought that he would find himself falling prey to a predator in such a way. Hate crimes are a top priority for the Department and this office and we take these kind of cases very seriously. It is important that we all remain vigilant and cautious as we use the internet in our everyday lives to avoid situations that may lead to destructive behavior of others towards us.”

The DOJ's Civil Rights Division also was involved in the prosecution.

“The facts of this case are truly shocking, and the defendant’s decision to specifically target gay men is a disturbing reminder of the unique prejudices and dangers facing the LGBTQ+ community today,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The internet should be accessible and safe for all Americans, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. We will continue to identify and intercept the predators who weaponize online platforms to target LGBTQ+ victims and carry out acts of violence and hate.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Lafayette Police Department and prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Myers Namie for the Western District of Louisiana and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

"The preservation of civil rights and the investigation of Color of Law violations are of utmost priority for the FBI,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams, Jr. of the FBI New Orleans Field Office. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that individuals like Chance Seneca will be held accountable. We thank our partners at the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Louisiana, Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Lafayette Police Department for their strong partnership and dedication to protecting the civil rights of every citizen.”

KATC does not usually identify surviving victims of attacks, but the victim in this case has allowed his name to be used. He talked to us after the attack, and told us he was finding hope in the aftermath of what happened to him. You can see that story here.