Indictment: Kids were used for ‘target practice’

child abuse charges

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The three people charged in a 25-count secret indictment last week in Trumbull County abused five children between the ages of 3 and 11, charges say.

Multiple sources confirmed the charges stem from allegations that the children’s mother, Coleen Stytle, 29, would allow people to use her children for BB gun target practice in exchange for cigarettes.

An indictment obtained by our station alleges that Stytle, along with Robert Branch, 25, and Joseph Boone, 25,  both of Warren, recklessly tortured or cruelly abused five children between the ages of 3 and 11 repeatedly between January and February of this year at a home on Larchmont Avenue N.E. The indictments show the trio abused an 11-year-old girl, a 9-year-old girl, a 7-year-old boy, a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old girl repeatedly during January and February.

Officers were called to the home in February, but it is unknown if that is when the abuse was uncovered. The Trumbull County Children’s Services Board was brought in to investigate the case.

CSB officials said they cannot talk about the case, but said the children are no longer in any danger. A woman at the home in question who answered the door on Tuesday did not want to comment on the charges.

Stytle is facing four counts of third-degree felony child endangering, four counts of complicity to child endangering, five counts of first-degree misdemeanor child endangering and one count of complicity to falsification. The charges say she abused the girls, ages 11 and 9, four times; the boys, ages 7 and 5, three times; and a 3-year-old girl once.

Branch was charged with four counts of third-degree felony child abuse for one act each against the 11, 9, 7 and 5 year old. And Boone was charged with four felony child abuse counts, one against each of the same children allegedly abused by Branch, and three more counts of misdemeanor child endangering against the 11, 9 and 7 year old.

Stytle’s bond was set at $50,000 and Boone and Branch’s bond were set at $20,000 each after pleading not guilty to charges in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday. Branch posted bond and has been released, but Boone at Stytle remain in jail.

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