‘My son was manipulated by a pedophile,’ Tulare County parent says at woman’s sentencing

Coral Lytle, a Tulare mom who pleaded guilty to having sex with two underage boys, was sentenced to four years in prison on Monday.

Judge Juliet Boccone ordered the 42-year-old Lytle taken into custody by a Tulare County Sheriff’s deputy. Lytle wept as she was placed in handcuffs. Several of her friends and supporters in the courtroom also cried.

Lytle, who will have to register as a sex offender for life, chose not to speak during Monday’s sentencing.

That wasn’t the case for family members of the victims, who were 14- and 15-year-old high school freshmen at the time of the crimes. They lashed out at Lytle for the damage she has done to their families. The families are not being identified because the boys are victims of sex crimes.

“Your name will always be equated with being a sex offender and rapist because that is what now defines you,” said one of the mothers of the victims in a statement read in court.

Lytle was charged with 21 felony counts, including unlawful sexual intercourse, oral copulation and contacting a minor for sex. Police said the crimes happened in 2017 between Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. And court records show the teenagers were at one time boyfriends of Lytle’s daughters.

The father of each victim read a statement to the judge, describing how Lytle, a mother of four, preyed on their sons, even grooming them, for her own needs.

“My son was manipulated by a pedophile who has changed his life forever,” said one of the dads.

The father said Lytle met his son through a church youth group. The two families became friends and even vacationed together once.

But the father said he also began seeing changes in his son’s behavior. He came home one day with an injury to his leg. He later admitted it was from falling out of Lytle’s car when she came to pick him up.

The father then found inappropriate texts from Lytle to his son. He said he confronted her and demanded she leave his son alone. He thought it was over, until he got a call from the Visalia Police Department asking questions about Lytle’s relationship with her son.

As Lytle’s actions came to light, the lives of the victims and their families where thrown into turmoil, the fathers said. The boys were bullied at school; they became depressed and withdrawn.

One of the victims told his parents he thought about killing himself.

“Her going off to prison can’t change the damage she has done to my son,” a father said. “But watching her get handcuffed is going to put a smile on my face.”

The other victim’s father described a similar pattern of Lytle befriending his son, including taking him to get his ears pierced and buying him alcohol and tobacco.

“She then sexually molested my son,” the father said. “People said that high school was supposed to be the best time of his life. He had hopes and dreams. It didn’t work out that way.”

One night, the father found his son crying alone in his bedroom.

“He was blaming himself for actions of someone else,” he said. “To hear that really tears you up.”

Lytle’s story drew national attention after she was arrested. Perhaps for the wrong reasons, said Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward.

“Coral Lytle is a predator and this office was prepared for years to tell that to a jury. While I am grateful that she will serve prison time and have to register as a sex offender, the sentence doesn’t reflect the lifetime impact she made on her victims,” Ward said. “This case is not a joke, and our office is appalled by some of the social media comments. These are real victims who have to deal with the real consequences of Coral Lytle’s crimes. There is no place for these types of victim-shaming comments in today’s society.”

The DA’s office did not offer a plea deal in the case. Had the case gone to trial, Lytle potentially faced over 17 years in prison if she was found guilty on all charges.

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A Valley native, Robert has worked at The Fresno Bee since 1994, covering various topics including education, business and agriculture. He currently covers courts.