Agreement reached on plea in federal sex solicitation case

Brad Hicks • Jan 9, 2014 at 6:51 PM

GREENEVILLE — A Johnson City man arrested last year and charged federally with attempting to solicit sex from a male juvenile has agreed to enter a plea agreement, according to a plea agreement document filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr. agreed to plead guilty to one count of using a facility or means of interstate commerce to knowingly persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity, according to court documents.

Per the plea agreement, Hoyle faces a minimum mandatory prison term of 10 years and a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, and a term of supervised release up to life.

Hoyle was arrested May 24 following a joint investigation by the Erwin Police Department and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. According to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court on May 29, Hoyle began contacting the victim in 2012 via Facebook. This led to a personal meeting between the two in January 2013 in which Hoyle “inappropriately touched” the victim, according to officials.

In May, Hoyle offered the victim $200 “with certain circumstances” to help the boy with car repairs, according to the complaint. Court records state that when the victim asked the 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.

Erwin police were contacted after this incident, and the victim received a text message from Hoyle on May 23 in which Hoyle expressed interest in sexual activity, according to court documents. The EPD contacted the TBI for its assistance and, on May 24, Hoyle was arrested after driving from his home in Johnson City to the Unicoi Walmart to meet the juvenile, according to officials.

Per the plea agreement, Hoyle must register as an offender under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

In June, a federal grand jury indicted Hoyle on one count of inducing a minor to engage in sexual activity by using a means on interstate commerce to do so.

“The defendant engaged the minor in multiple conversations including text messages, telephone call and electronic mail communications,” the plea agreement document states. “During the foregoing conversations, the defendant induced, enticed or persuaded, or attempted to induce, entice or persuade a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.”

Following his indictment, Hoyle was set to begin trial in federal court on Aug. 27. This trial was continued until early October after a motion requesting a continuance filed by Hoyle’s then-attorney, Nikki Pierce with the federal defender’s office, was granted. A second motion for continuance filed by Pierce would see the trial continued to mid-December.

The trial would be continued a third time in November after Hoyle submitted a handwritten letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis H. Inman requesting that Pierce be replaced. Attorney Donny Young was appointed to represent Hoyle.

Hoyle’s federal trial was scheduled to begin on Jan. 28. A plea agreement/sentencing hearing had not been scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.

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