If you're a fan of professional rodeo, then this week has been a dark one: Trick rider Rodney Ray Hayes, aka "The Texas Kid," has beenindicted
on four felony counts of "transportation of minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity."
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Filed in a Marshall federal court, the newly unsealed indictment accuses the Linden-based Hayes, 44, of sexually exploiting minors who toured with him between 2004-2009. The minors are identified only by initials; the indictment does not state their exact ages or whether they are male or female. Each count carries a maximum lifetime sentence.
Citing the fact that the victims were minors, a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office could not provide any more information. (Two of the charges identify a minor under the initials "C.B;" it's unclear if these are two people with the same initials, or the same person who is the subject of two separate counts).
According to his website, Hayes' road show, The Pony Express, "consist[s] of 27 young men and ladies to date that have come from all walks of life to join Rodney as he entertains crowds across America....Rodney has a heart filled with love for kids and enjoys teaching them about responsibility, patriotism, and good clean American fun."
Hayes, who could not immediately be reached for comment, is being held without bond.