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Johnson City man accused in teen sex case transferred to federal custody, faces up to 20 years in federal prison

May 31st, 2013 11:48 am by Brad Hicks

Johnson City man accused in teen sex case transferred to federal custody, faces up to 20 years in federal prison

Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr.

GREENEVILLE — Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr., the Johnson City man accused of attempting to solicit sex from an underage male in a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation sting, is now federal custody.

Hoyle, 40, appeared in U.S. District in Greeneville on Friday morning for an initial appearance hearing. He was arrested on May 24 following an investigation by the Erwin Police Department and the TBI.

The TBI 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. Erwin Police also charged Hoyle with aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure and solicitation of a person under 18 years of age, based on allegations that he had prior sexual contact with the same boy.

At Friday's brief hearing, Hoyle told U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman that he could not afford to hire an attorney, and Inman appointed the federal defender's office to represent Hoyle. 

A complaint filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday charges Hoyle with one count on inducing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, using interstate commerce - a cell phone - to do so.

Read the full complaint. Warning: Contains strong language.

Inman advised Hoyle that he faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and lifetime supervised release if convicted on this charge. However, Inman said the criminal complaint acts only as a temporary charging document. The judge advised Hoyle that if he is indicted by a federal grand jury, the charge or charges on which he is indicted is what he will be tried on.

Inman told Hoyle that he has the right to a preliminary hearing as long as the criminal complaint remains in effect, but if he is indicted, he would lose the right to this hearing. Nikki Pierce with the federal defender's office requested a preliminary hearing for Hoyle, and the hearing was set for June 12 at 9 a.m. in U.S. District Court.

The federal grand jury is set to next convene on June 11. If Hoyle is indicted prior to the preliminary hearing, the scheduled June 12 hearing would become an arraignment hearing. Pierce told Inman that Hoyle wished to waive his detention hearing, but a motion to proceed with this hearing may be filed after she discusses the matter with Hoyle. 

At Friday's hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen Smith made a motion that Hoyle be remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal, a request that was granted.

Hoyle appeared in Unicoi County General Sessions Court on Thursday, were he was denied representation by the public defender's office and his bond was set at $150,000. He was set to again appear in Unicoi County Sessions Court on June 6.

Related articles:

Johnson City man accused of raping teenage boy denied public defender

Update: Johnson City man accused of trying to meet boy for sex

Following Friday's hearing, Smith said Hoyle's appearance in Sessions Court will likely be canceled and that she expects his Unicoi County charges to be dismissed. 

"I will send them all my documents, and I do expect them to dismiss their charges," Smith said. 

Smith also said she expects that Hoyle will be federally indicted. 

With Hoyle now in federal custody, Smith said he will likely be detained at a facility in either Washington County or Claiborne County. 

According to the complaint filed Wednesday, Hoyle first began contacting the victim last June, which eventually led to a personal meeting in January in which Hoyle "inappropriately touched" the juvenile. 

In May, Hoyle offered the victim $200 "with certain circumstances" to help the victim with car repairs. When the victim asked the circumstances, Hoyle responded that he wanted to perform oral sex on the juvenile, according to the complaint.

"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.

After contacting the local authorities, the victim received text messages from Hoyle on May 23 in which Hoyle expressed interest in sexual activity with the boy, according to the complaint. The Erwin Police Department contacted the TBI for its assistance and, on May 24, when Hoyle arrived at the Unicoi Walmart to meet the boy, he was immediately arrested, authorities said. 

Following Hoyle's arrest, a search of his cell phones revealed "thousands" of text messages between Hoyle and victim, according to the complaint. 

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