Plot foiled

Drag queen busted for blackmailing man on Grindr, threatening to out him to his girlfriend

An Australian drag queen just pleaded guilty to blackmailing a man he met online.

Timothy John Ruge, whose drag name is Summer Clearance, met his alleged victim on Grindr in March 2018. After sending an initial “Hi,” he followed the message up with a photo of the man and his fiancee, along with the words: “She’s pretty you cheating bastard.”

When the man replied by asking how he got the photograph, Ruge replied, “I’ll keep ya secret ya little dirty cheating immoral little bitch.”

He then proceeded to demand the man pay him $200 in exchange for his silence.

“I’ll send her the Grindr msgs,” Ruge threatened in a text message shared in court this week.

“Understood,” the victim said.

“Allllllll screen shotted,” Ruge replied.

The men agreed to meet up at a nearby bus station, where the victim gave Ruge $200 in cash and watched him delete their text exchange. But minutes after leaving, he received another message from Ruge that said, “$1300 to go.”

The victim responded, “Wow blackmailing me.”

To which, Ruge replied, “And then lesson learnt. And I vanish.”

“Please just leave me alone,” the victim texted back. “I’ve learnt my lesson, no more being a dick, it was a very expensive lesson.”

Ruge replied by telling the man, “We are not done.” Then later that afternoon, he sent another text that read: “Mate get that $300 to my friend by 6 at the latest or I’ll take your girl, make her mine.”

Fearing for his fiancee’s safety, the man broke down and called police. After handing over all of the texts and telling them everything, cops arrested Ruge. He told them he was acting as “a warrior who is trying to lower the divorce rate” before pleading guilty to blackmail.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

He told police he was using drugs at the time, had been in an abusive relationship and was homeless and sometimes met people on Grindr to get accommodation.

But, he told police, he never became involved with people who were in relationships, and often reminded others of what they had, like it was his ‘‘crusade or something’’.

Ruge said he had ‘‘a heart of gold’’, wasn’t a bad person, and acknowledged the blackmail ‘‘was not one of my finest moments’’.

In court this week, Ruge’s attorney tried arguing that childhood physical abuse suffered at the hands of his stepfather led him to abuse drugs in his 20s while he was working as a drag queen on the gay nightclub circuit.

The judge, however, was unmoved.

“He tries to paint himself as some type of moral guardian where he is blackmailing someone,” she said.

Seeing as how Ruge doesn’t have any criminal record, prosecutors have asked he be given a community corrections order rather than jail time. He scheduled to be sentenced on Friday.

Yesterday, he took to Facebook to express his sincere regret over the matter, saying he has learned his lessons and is ready to “except my consequences.”