Johnson City Press Saturday, November 29, 2014

Crime Erwin

Federal sentence prompts dismissal of local charges in Johnson City man's teen sex solicitation case

June 6th, 2014 10:52 am by Brad Hicks

Federal sentence prompts dismissal of local charges in Johnson City man's teen sex solicitation case

Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr. (file photo)

ERWIN — State charges against a Johnson City man charged with attempting to solicit sex from a male juvenile are set to be dismissed this morning, as the man has already been sentenced in federal court.

Local charges against Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr. will be “nolled,” or dismissed, this morning in Unicoi County Sessions Court, according to Assistant District Attorney General Ryan Curtis. The state’s motion to dismiss Hoyle’s local charges was discussed Thursday at a brief hearing in Sessions Court.

“Our policy in general is that if the federal government picks up a state charge and the federal government pursues that charge to the point of completion, generally we will dismiss, or nolle, the state charge that remains because it’s already been prosecuted,” Curtis said.

Following his May 2013 arrest, Hoyle was charged by the Erwin Police Department with aggravated statutory rape, sexual battery by an authority figure and solicitation of a person under 18 years of age. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 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 following his arrest.

Early this May in U.S. District Court in Greeneville, U.S. District Judge J. Ronnie Greer sentenced Hoyle to serve 121 months in jail to be followed by 20 years of supervised release. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender. In January, Hoyle agreed to plead guilty to one federal count of using a facility or means of interstate commerce to knowingly persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity. A federal grand jury indicted Hoyle on this charge in June 2013.

Hoyle was arrested on May 24, 2013, following a joint investigation by the Erwin Police Department and the TBI. According to officials, Hoyle has been began contacting the victim in 2012 via Facebook, which led to a personal meeting between the two in January 2013 in which Hoyle “inappropriately touched” the victim.

In May 2013, Hoyle offered the victim $200 to help with car repairs and, in exchange, Hoyle wanted to perform oral sex on the victim, according to documents previously filed in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. Documents further state that Hoyle did not provide the victim with the $200.

After contacting local authorities, the victim received text messages on May 23, 2013, in which Hoyle expressed interest in sexual activity with the boy, according to the complaint filed last year in U.S. District Court in Greeneville. The Erwin Police Department contacted the TBI for its assistance and Hoyle was arrested the following day when, according to authorities, he arrived at the Unicoi Walmart to meet the boy.

Curtis said Hoyle’s sentence in federal court is more severe than the sentence he would have received through the local court system. He said although both the state and federal government have jurisdiction to prosecute, the federal government has already expended the resources to prosecute Hoyle.

“Frankly, that’s such a stiffer sentence and better sentence than what we do on the state level that’s it’s better to let them handle it in general,” Curtis said.

Related: Former sheriff asks judge for leniency in Hoyle case

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