Rickie Hoyle Jr.
ERWIN - The Johnson City man arrested Friday following an investigation by the Erwin Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for allegedly attempting to solicit sex from an underage boy appeared in Unicoi County General Sessions Court on Thursday.
Rickie Hoyle Jr., 40, has been charged with aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure and solicitation of a person under 18 years of age by the Erwin Police Department, and 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 applied Thursday to have the public defender's office represent him. On his application, Hoyle indicated that he does own property on Oak Street in Johnson City. Sessions Court Judge David Shults advised Hoyle that because he owns property, he is not eligible for representation by the public defender's office.
"If you own property, you can't get a public defender," Shults said.
Bond for Hoyle had not been set prior to Thursday's hearing. On Thursday, Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Curtis told Shults that his office is asking for a $150,000 bond.
"The allegations are very serious," Curtis said.
Hoyle's bond was set at $150,000, and he is scheduled to again appear in Unicoi County General Sessions Court on June 6.
According to the Erwin Police Department, the department had previously received information that a juvenile was being solicited by text message and the juvenile was being stalked by Hoyle. An affidavit of complaint from the department states that on or around May 21, Hoyle offered to pay a juvenile $200 in order to perform oral sex on the juvenile. Investigation revealed that Hoyle had sexual contact with the juvenile at an undisclosed location within the limits of Erwin, according to the police department.
Erwin Police contacted the TBI for its assistance. On May 23, Hoyle sent sexually explicit messages to the boy, according to the TBI. Erwin Police said the police department and 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."
When Hoyle arrived at the Walmart, he was immediately arrested by TBI agents and officers with the Erwin Police Department, according to officials. Erwin Police officials said the victim told authorities that Hoyle portrayed himself as a leader in the First Priority Club at Unicoi County High School which, according to its Facebook page, is a student-led evangelical group for the Unicoi County School system.
First Priority Club at Unicoi County High School is a division of First Priority Blue Ridge, Inc. Haley Wherry, the organization's executive director, issued a statement on Tuesday that stated Hoyle held no official capacity within the organization, and that Hoyle was a youth worker interested in becoming involved with First Priority.
A six-page complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greeneville by TBI Special Agent Brian Fraley charges Hoyle with one count of inducing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity. According to the complaint, Hoyle first began contacting the victim in June 2012 via Facebook. The victim blocked messages from Hoyle, but subsequently received a message from a man identifying himself as Hoyle's cousin, according to the complaint.
After receiving the message from the person identify himself as Hoyle's cousin, the victim accepted Hoyle as a Facebook "friend" and provided Hoyle with his cell phone number, according to the complaint.
Hoyle contacted the victim "many times" via phone and Facebook, according to the complaint. It states that the victim eventually met Hoyle in person in the fall of 2012 in Johnson City, which was followed by subsequent meetings in Johnson City and Unicoi County.
It is alleged that Hoyle "inappropriately touched" the juvenile while giving him a ride home in January. In May, the victim began having car problems, and Hoyle offered money for repairs, but "with certain circumstances," the complaint states. When the victim asked about these circumstances, Hoyle responded that he wanted to perform oral sex on the victim.
"On May 21, 2013, Hoyle drove to the home of (the victim), who allowed Hoyle to perform oral sex on him for $200. Hoyle did not provide $200 to (the victim)," the complaint states.
Search of cell phones taken from Hoyle's home following his arrest contained "thousands" of text messages between Hoyle and victim, according to the complaint.
Hoyle is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Greeneville today at 8:45 a.m. for an initial appearance hearing.Related article: Update: Johnson City man accused of trying to meet boy for sex comments powered by Disqus