Kent man pleads not guilty to raping, robbing men via gay dating apps

by: John Knicely Updated:

KENT, Wash. -  Leverne Maxwell gave a peace sign to his mother as he left a King County courtroom Monday after pleading not guilty to rape and robbery charges. 

Court documents detail charges that Maxwell met his victims through gay dating apps. 

Maxwell’s mother told KIRO 7 she had no comment as she left the courtroom, but a woman claiming to be his aunt said they don’t believe the charges.

“I love my nephew and I believe in his innocence,” said the woman.  “And I believe in the King County Court system.  Always had a fair judge.”

The search warrant details a violent rape at gunpoint.  The victim told detectives Maxwell showed up at his home after meeting on the gay men dating app GROWLr. 

The victim said Maxwell forced him to have sex at gunpoint.  He claimed Maxwell threatened him saying, “I will (expletive) kill you in your own house.  No one will hear.”

The search warrant said Maxwell admitted to detectives that he had sex with the man, but claimed it was consensual.  That victim also said Maxwell stole his iPad and iPhone.

Police said they have connected other similar robberies to Maxwell, saying in some cases he used a different gay men dating app called Scruff.

 In one case, they said they found the stolen cellphone on Maxwell when he was arrested.  Police said Maxwell also had a silver handgun that matched a description given by several victims. 

Maxwell also faces illegal firearm charges since he is a convicted felon.

Maxwell’s next court appearance is May 20.