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Press Release

Tennis Coach Convicted of Transporting Minor Across State Lines and Engaging in Sex Acts

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama
Montgomery

Montgomery, Alabama – On January 23, 2024, a federal jury in Dothan, Alabama convicted 51-year-old Leroy Thomas Joyner, Jr., from Columbus, Georgia, on one count of unlawfully transporting a minor across state lines with intent to engage in sexual activity, announced Acting United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross.

According to court records and evidence presented during his trial, Joyner was a tennis coach operating an association in Dale County, Alabama. The association provided lessons to underprivileged children and teens. In September of 2018, reports of physical abuse were made to law enforcement alleging that Joyner had used a wooden paddle on some of his students. Law enforcement began to investigate these reports and found much more than physical abuse. Investigators discovered that, in late 2015, Joyner took a special interest in a 13-year-old female student. He began taking her out of state to play in tennis tournaments. Testimony given during Joyner’s trial indicated that he engaged in sex acts with the minor in multiple states, including Georgia, Louisiana, and South Carolina. This exploitation continued until the reports of abuse surfaced in 2018. At that time, the victim was 15.

Following the guilty verdict, Joyner faces a sentence of ten years to life in federal prison. When the trial ended, the judge remanded Joyner into custody. There is no parole in the federal system. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for Joyner in the coming months.

“Safeguarding children from sexual exploitation and abuse is one of law enforcement’s most vital responsibilities,” said Acting United States Attorney Ross. “Through his position of authority, Joyner targeted young and vulnerable victims. His actions were reprehensible and caused lasting harm. I am grateful for the law enforcement agents and prosecutors who worked diligently to hold him accountable.”

Special Agent in Charge Paul Brown with the FBI stated, “Protecting our children is of paramount importance, and the FBI will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to prevent their victimization and to hold accountable those who abuse them.”

The FBI and the Dale County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case, which Assistant United States Attorneys Russell T. Duraski, Tara S. Ratz, and B. Chelsea Phillips prosecuted.

Updated January 31, 2024

Topic
Project Safe Childhood