Man Pleads Not Guilty to Assaulting Victims Lured Through Grindr

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Assaulting Victims Lured Through Grindr

File photograph of a judge's gavel. (Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images)

City News Service

City News Service


Updated: 9/21/2023

VISTA, Calif.—A man accused of luring male victims through a dating app and then sexually assaulting them in Escondido pleaded not guilty on Sept. 20 to kidnapping and sex-related offenses.
Tobias Bartee, 28, was arrested on Sept. 15 following reports of “four different adult males that had been lured to an apartment in the city.”
Police said Mr. Bartee posed as another person on Grindr, then attacked the men when they met in person by restraining and sexually assaulting them.
While police identified four victims, a criminal complaint filed against Mr. Bartee lists three victims, all identified as John Does.
One of the alleged attacks occurred the day before Mr. Bartee was arrested, according to the complaint. He is charged with kidnapping and sex crime counts in connection with John Doe 1.
Another alleged attack occurred on Aug. 13 against John Doe 2 and Mr. Bartee is charged with assault with intent to commit sodomy and assault causing great bodily injury.
Mr. Bartee is charged with robbery in connection with John Doe 3, which allegedly occurred in July. He’s also charged with failing to appear in court in May of last year while he was out on bail in a separate case, in which he faces vehicle theft and drug-related charges.
Mr. Bartee remains in custody without bail following Wednesday’s arraignment. Escondido police said anyone else who may have been a victim was encouraged to contact Detective Jesse Santaniello at 760-839-4768.
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