Kirksville, Missouri (NBC)(12/19/19)— A church leader and university professor in northeastern Missouri has been charged with patronizing prostitution after allegedly trying to solicit an 18 year old on Grindr with offers of an Arby’s gift card and gas money.
The investigation began after Truman State University police received a tip that Barry Poyner had been “harassing” male students and “offering to pay for items for sexual favors.”
Poyner, age 57, was allegedly contacting the students on Grindr, a popular dating site for homosexuals.
According to the Kirksville Daily Express, a police officer set up a Grindr profile posing as an 18-year-old man, and Poyner, using the profile name “DILF,” reached out to express his interest in establishing a “sugar daddy relationship.”
According to Kirksville police, Poyner is accused of trying to lure the teen with gift cards, clothing, and money, which Poyner said he had done in prior arrangements.
On December 3, Poyner allegedly arranged to meet up at a gas station to refuel the teen’s car in exchange for sex, saying that he “might throw in an Arby’s card LOL.” After arriving at the station, Poyner fled and was later arrested.
Poyner has been a professor of communication at the university for nearly 30 years. According to a statement issued by Truman State University, he has been suspended and “informed that he is not allowed on campus, cannot have any contact with student organizations or participate in any campus events or activities.”
Poyner’s name has been removed from the website for the Kirksville Church of Christ, which he had been listed as one of three church elders. The church’s Facebook page, which had reportedly condemned homosexuality in at least two posts, appears to have been deactivated.
Poyner is expected to appear before a judge on January 8 to face a misdemeanor charge of “patronizing prostitution.”