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Man avoids jail over Grindr blackmail, defends his actions on Facebook

Timothy Ruge leaves the Victorian County Court in Melbourne after pleading guilty in 2018. COURTESY: AAP

A former Melbourne escort who avoided jail for blackmailing an engaged man on a gay dating app says he wouldn’t change a thing.

Timothy Ruge, 35, pleaded guilty to trying to extort $1500 from his young victim following an interaction on Grindr.

In explanation for his offending, he told police he was on a “crusade” to stop cheaters and bring down divorce rates, the Victorian County Court heard.

In a Facebook post uploaded yesterday, the ex-drag queen said if he had his time again he wouldn’t do anything differently.

I like to think from my pain there’s a positive to gain Ruge wrote.

I believe others will learn and grow without making the same mistakes I’ve made.

Tomorrow when that hammer comes down I will except (sic) my consequences from the Crown.

Outside court today, Ruge remained tight-lipped when questioned by reporters.

The former ice addict was ordered to serve a 24-month community corrections order and complete 220 hours of unpaid community work.

The victim was using Grindr on March 2 last year when he selected Ruge’s profile.

But Ruge responded with an image of the victim’s fiancee before he demanded a total of $1500, threatening to “out” him if he didn’t comply.

The pair then arranged to meet at Southern Cross Station, with the victim handing Ruge $200, before the messages were deleted, but more cash was later demanded.

Victorian County Court judge Lisa Hannan described Ruge’s crime as “disgraceful” and told him he was very close to going to prison.

He will also be ordered to undergo drug and mental health treatment.