Maryville law firm runner arrested

By Mark Boxley
of The Daily Times Staff

A legal runner, employed until recently by a prominent Maryville law firm, was arrested Thursday at the Blount County Justice Center on a charge of solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Andrew Stephen Roy, 22, Lenoir City, was arrested after an online investigation by members of the Blount County Sheriff's Office High Tech Evidence and Technology (HEAT) Unit that spanned several days.

Roy allegedly "displayed to a law enforcement investigator posing as a minor, material containing sexual activity that was patently offensive and construed as being for the sexual arousal of the intended minor and the defendant," according to an affidavit of complaint filed in Blount County General Sessions Court by an undercover investigator in the case.

The information was reportedly conveyed to the undercover investigator via the Internet through a computer at Kizer & Black -- the Maryville law firm employing Roy at the time. His employment has since been terminated, said Kizer & Black managing partner John McArthur.

"We're absolutely shocked that it occurred," he said Friday during a conference call that included Kizer & Black attorney Melanie Davis. "Totally unacceptable behavior."

McArthur said the firm has cooperated fully with the sheriff's office investigation. To the best of his knowledge, McArthur said it appears the material allegedly conveyed by Roy to the undercover investigator originated from a computer at Kizer & Black. Members of the law firm were not aware of the HEAT investigation until Thursday, Davis said.

McArthur said Roy comes from a hard-working family and along with the allegations being a "tragedy for him" it was also a "tragedy for his family."

As a runner for the law firm, Roy delivered legal paperwork, McArthur said, adding the man had only been employed by Kizer & Black for a short time.

Roy was being held at the Blount County Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond on the solicitation charge, and also on an investigative hold. He is scheduled to appear for a 9 a.m. Friday hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court.