Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr.
A Johnson City man is facing multiple charges stemming from investigations by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Erwin Police Department for allegedly attempting to solicit sex from an underage male juvenile, according to the TBI.
The Erwin Police Department has charged Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr., 40, with aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure and solicitation of a person under 18 years of age. The TBI has charged Hoyle with attempted aggravated statutory rape, attempted sexual battery by an authority figure and attempted solicitation of a person under 18 years of age. Hoyle was arrested on Friday.
According to a release from Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson, the police department had received information that a juvenile was being solicited by text message and the juvenile was being stalked by Hoyle. The affidavit of complaint written by Erwin Police Det. Tony Buchanan states that on or around May 21, Hoyle offered to pay a juvenile $200 in order to perform oral sex on the juvenile. Tilson's release states that the investigation revealed that Hoyle had sexual contact with the juvenile at an undisclosed location within the limits of Erwin.
"Several explicit text messages had been received by the juvenile from the defendant requesting to meet and perform sexual act," the Erwin Police Department release states. "The TBI was contacted for assistance in this case and agreed to help."
A release from the TBI states that on May 23, Hoyle sent sexually explicit text messages to the underage male victim.
According to the Erwin Police Department, Erwin Police and the TBI monitored a phone call on Friday in which Hoyle agreed to meet the juvenile at the Unicoi Walmart in order to "carry out the activity in the text messages."
"The defendant did arrived at Walmart where he was immediately arrested by TBI agents and Officers of the Erwin Police Department," Tilson stated in his release. The release further states that the victim told authorities that Hoyle portrayed himself as a leader in the First Priority Club at Unicoi County High School.
According to its Facebook page, First Priority UCHS is a student-led evangelical group for the Unicoi County School system that meets on Thursday afternoon. This group is an offshoot of First Priority Blue Ridge which, according to its website, is a local church strategy that unites "the Body of Christ to extend to the churches' youth ministries onto middle and high school campuses." The organization serves the Tennessee counties of Johnson, Carter, Sullivan, Washington, Unicoi, Greene, Hawkins, Cocke and Hamblen counties.
First Priority Blue Ridge Executive Director Haley Wherry said Hoyle held no official capacity within the organization, and that Hoyle was a youth worker interested in becoming involved with First Priority.
"He hadn't been trained or approved by any process we had in place," Wherry said Tuesday afternoon.
Following his arrest, Hoyle was taken to the Unicoi County Jail. Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said Tuesday that Hoyle remains in custody, but he has been transported to another facility. Hensley said he could not release further information, such as the reason Hoyle was taken to another facility or the name of the facility, at this time. TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm stated in an emailed response that the TBI cannot comment on the status of inmates in another agency's jail or facility.
Hoyle is scheduled to appear in Unicoi County General Sessions Court on June 6.
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