Mother gets up to 4 years for posing

She had her children take photos of her nude, prosecutor says.

A former Allentown woman who struck seductive nude poses and ordered her 12-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter to photograph her showed up in court Friday wearing jeans with ”Booty” emblazoned on the left rear pocket and ”Licious” on the right in what appeared to be rhinestones.

Northampton County Judge Stephen G. Baratta sent Julie Figueroa, 43, to state prison for nine months to four years. Figueroa’s adult daughter jumped to her feet as deputy sheriffs clamped handcuffs on Figueroa’s wrists. ”Excuse me!” she shouted. ”Can I say goodbye to my mother?’

‘Ma’am,” Baratta said sharply, ”Be quiet.”

”This isn’t fair,” the sobbing daughter screamed.

Figueroa’s daughter continued to cry as she was escorted by a deputy from the courtroom. Baratta told another deputy he would not object to allowing the daughter to speak with Figueroa once Figueroa had been locked in a holding cell.

Figueroa pleaded guilty Oct. 17 to endangering the welfare of children. At that hearing, the adult daughter did not provide her name, but said she was 20. She told Baratta her mother had ”mental disabilities.”

At Friday’s sentencing hearing, Baratta said Figueroa had tried to minimize her actions and initially claimed she was ”a victim of false allegations.” Figueroa was living on Pawnee Street in Bethlehem in March. It was there that she posed and had the children snap photos with a cell phone.

Assistant District Attorney Patricia C. Broscius said Figueroa, when confronted, claimed she posed topless. However, Broscius said, the photographs police recovered showed Figueroa nude and in sexual positions. Figueroa’s attorney, Gilbert J. Negrete Jr. of Bethlehem, told the judge Figueroa had her children take the photos so she could put them on the Internet to find a boyfriend.

He added that ”it wasn’t her intention for her son to have the pictures.”

Baratta said the boy not only had the photos but showed them to some of his friends. Figueroa was charged when her estranged husband saw the pictures and notified police. Negrete told Baratta that Figueroa takes full responsibility for what happened. He suggested that Figueroa needs psychiatric care and not prison.

”What do you think the impact was for the children?” Baratta asked. ”At 12 and 13 their mother involved them in a sexcapade…Aren’t they emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives? Does she really get it? She used her children as a tool to promote her own prurient, and I’m going to say bizarre, harmful goals in attracting men on the Internet.”

Baratta said if he didn’t send Figueroa to prison, other parents would feel free to commit similar crimes. Figueroa said she knows she was wrong, but that having her children taken away was punishment enough.

”I’m thinking that maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have children,” Baratta said. ”It’s all about you. It’s all about you and your fun and games.”

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