MIDDLETON — A Saugus woman has been charged with bringing a 15-year-old middle school student to a Middleton hotel for sex last month.
Heather Salines, 38, pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated child rape during her arraignment in Salem District Court this morning.
She was briefly taken into custody in the courtroom, then released on $7,500 bail about an hour later.
Prosecutor Kate MacDougall told a judge that Salines was a "mother figure" to the teenager, who lost his own mother. MacDougall said Salines and the boy exchanged nude photos, then engaged in sexual acts, first in her car in Saugus on St. Patrick's Day, and then two days later at the Double Tree Hotel in Middleton.
MacDougall said the boy had just turned 15 and described him as "vulnerable."
Questioned by police last month, Salines admitted to engaging in sexual activity and sending the boy nude photos.
Salines' defense attorney, John Sasso, said his client is married with two children.
It was through the older of the two children, MacDougall indicated, that Salines met the boy, a friend of her daughter.
Sasso called the situation "an unfortunate incident" that affects not only Salines but her family.
If convicted, Salines faces a minimum mandatory 10 years in prison. The charge is considered "aggravated" because of the age difference between the boy and Salines, who is more than 2 1/2 times his age.
MacDougall told the judge that the investigation is continuing and that she expects to seek an indictment of Salines soon.
For more on this story, see tomorrow's Salem News and salemnews.com.