Columbus man convicted of transporting minor across state lines and engaging in sex acts, faces up to life in prison

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama said that a Columbus man, who worked as a tennis coach in Alabama was convicted on one count of unlawfully transporting a minor across state lines with intent to engage in sexual activity.

According to court documents and evidence presented during the trial, 46-year-old LeRoy Thomas Joyner Jr. was employed as a tennis coach operating an association in Dale County, Alabama.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the association provided lessons to “underprivileged children and teens.” In September of 2018, law enforcement received multiple reports of physical abuse detailing that Joyner had used a wooden paddle on some of his students.

Authorities investigated the reports and the U.S. Attorney’s Office says they discovered “more than physical abuse.”

Law enforcement found that in 2015, Joyner took a “special interest” in a 13-year-old female student. He started by taking her to play out-of-state tournaments. Testimony given during Joyner’s trial indicated that he engage in sexual acts with the minor in several states including Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that the exploitation continued until the reports of the abuse appeared in 2018; by this time, the minor was 15.

After receiving a guilty verdict, Joyner is facing 10 years to life in federal prison.

The FBI and the Dale County Sheriff’s Office investigated Joyner’s case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Russell T. Duraski, Tara S. Ratz and B. Chelsea Philips prosecuted the case.

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