A 21-year-old karate instructor has been accused of persistently soliciting an 11-year-old boy in her class for sex for four straight months, even resorting to sending him nude photos of herself.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Stephannie Figueroa was arrested last week in Orlando, Florida, after the mother of the 11-year-old boy found sexually explicit texts from his karate instructor on his cell phone. Figueroa has been charged with solicitation, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and attempted lewd or lascivious conduct.
While Orlando police have not definitively proven the texts were from Stephannie Figueroa, the content of the aggressively sexual messages seem to come directly from the leader of the boy’s karate class. According to the arrest report, Figueroa told the child that she “couldn’t wait” for the karate class to have a sleepover at the Next-Gen-Xtreme Martial Arts school, because it would allow her to have sex with the underage boy “in a hard way.”
Figueroa just turned 21 on Sunday and allegedly invited her student to her birthday “party.” However, she promised the two of them would be the only ones in attendance at her private home. As if that invitation wasn’t suggestive enough, the karate instructor reportedly sent the 11-year-old a direct message via the Kik Messenger app that came right out and said “I want to have sex with you.”
However, the student was not receptive to any of Stephannie Figueroa’s sexual advances. In response to the Kik message, the boy reportedly replied “OK IDC,” which means “I don’t care.”
But, according to the Huffington Post, her shockingly bold advances didn’t stop there. The arrest report also claims Stephannie Figueroa slid her hand up the boy’s thigh one time while they were alone together. The student asked her to stop and she did.
In addition to continually rejecting his karate instructor, the boy was also quick to incriminate Figueroa, informing police that she had been actively flirting and trying to have sex with him since February. He also claimed she sent at least 15 photos of herself either fully or partially nude, including images of her “private parts.”
His mother found the explicit messages on June 15 and called the police immediately. While the boy has been cooperative with police since then, he made no previous mention of the Orlando karate instructor’s inappropriate behavior. The nude photos of Stephannie Figueroa were also deleted before police could view them, though it’s unclear who erased the files.
YouTube is full of clips featuring Stephannie Figueroa demonstrating her martial arts skills, including the video below.
The owner of the Orlando karate school has defended his employee. He claims the allegations against Figueroa are false and has hired an attorney to represent the school.
Stephannie Figueroa has worked as a karate instructor at other facilities as well, including the Florida Sports Martial Arts Academy. Police are concerned there may have been other underage victims of her aggressive sexual advances. But a co-owner of the academy claims Stephannie caused no problems while she worked there.
“I’ve been here a long time, and she just came here and trained with one of the instructors a long time ago, and then she leaves,” he said.
A GoFundMe page was also published in defense of Stephannie Figueroa, asking for $4,000 on her behalf. The page has since been shut down for violating the site’s terms of service. Before it was deleted, it featured this message.
“For those of you who know Stephannie she has always been a kind hearted girl always looking to please everyone and to help whoever’s in need. She is also a very hard worker and always does her best when she is working. But right now she is in danger and needs your help.”
The karate instructor is now being held at the Orange County Jail without bond.
[Photo via the Orlando Police Department]