At a change of plea hearing held Tuesday in U.S. District Court, a sentencing date of May 7 was set for Rickie Lee Hoyle Jr. Hoyle’s plea agreement filed earlier this month was also accepted at Tuesday’s hearing.
A document filed in U.S. District Court on Jan. 8 said Hoyle 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.
The plea agreement said Hoyle faces a minimum mandatory prison term of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000 and a term of supervised release up to life. Hoyle must also register as an offender under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Hoyle was ordered to the custody of the U.S. Marshal Service following Tuesday’s hearing.
Hoyle was arrested May 24 following a joint investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Erwin Police Department. Court documents filed days after the arrest said Hoyle had 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.
Last May, Hoyle offered the victim $200 to help with car repairs and, in exchange, Hoyle wanted to perform oral sex on the victim, court documents said. Documents further state that Hoyle did not provide the victim with the $200.
The Erwin Police Department was contacted after this incident, and the victim received a text message from Hoyle on May 23 in which Hoyle expressed interest in sexual activity, court records said. Erwin police contacted the TBI for its assistance, and on May 24, Hoyle was arrested after driving from his Johnson City home to meet the juvenile at the Unicoi Walmart, law enforcement officials said.
A federal grand jury indicted Hoyle in June on one count of inducing a minor to engage in sexual activity by using a means of interstate commerce.