Heather Winfield- Alpena, Michigan teacher ordered to stand trial after being accused of sexually assaulting boy more than 100 times starting at age eleven.
A special education teacher from Michigan has been accused of sexually assaulting a former student more than 100 times, beginning when the boy was 11 years old.
Heather Winfield, a 38 year old mother of three was on Friday ordered to stand trial following a lengthy investigation going back to 2016 when the indiscretions first occurred while teaching at Thunder Bay Junior High School in Alpena.
The female educator who was first arrested in January was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child younger than 13 years old; criminal sexual conduct during the commission of a felony; criminal sexual conduct with a child aged 13 to 15 years old; second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child younger than 13 years old; accosting a minor for immoral purposes, and using a computer to commit a crime.
If convicted of the charges against her, Winfield could face up to a life in prison.
During three days of preliminary hearings last week, Winfield’s accuser, who is now 14 years old, testified that the abuse started when he was 11 and went on to include more than 100 sexual encounters in hotel rooms around Alpena over the course of three years, reported Alpena News.
ICYMI: An @TheAlpenaNews investigations finds that Hillman schools hired Heather Winfield while aware of allegations she sexually assaulted one of her students; Hillman is now changing hiring policy https://t.co/mYaa7lTHl3 pic.twitter.com/JEVmspFSVS
— Justin A. Hinkley (@JustinHinkley) March 4, 2019
Heather Winfield Alpena teacher has sex with victim in a trailer in her backyard:
The alleged victim, who reportedly has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, told the court last week that Winfield bestowed him with gifts, including expensive tennis shoes, bikes and fishing gear, took him along on her family vacations to Florida and Tennessee, before seduced him in 2016.
The teenager said that his first sexual encounter with Winfield took place on July 2 of that year in a trailer located in the yard of the teacher’s home.
Dozens more tryst would follow, according to the accuser, including in hotels and at campsites.
‘We would have what she called quickies all over the house and it could happen at any time of the day,’ he said. ‘We were really sneaky about it.’
The boy also testified that he has in his possession nude photos depicting Winfield and a video showing one of their sexual episodes.
Heather Winfield Alpena teacher seeks to discredit alleged victim:
The allegations against the special education teacher first came to light after the victim’s ex-girlfriend, then aged 12, discovered on his phone Facebook messages he and the teacher had allegedly exchanged and reached out to the Michigan State Police.
Winfield’s defense attorney sought to discredit her underage accuser and asked the judge to throw out the case after pointing out that the boy had previously claimed that he and his former teacher had sex 1,000 times, but he later changed the number to 100.
Defense attorney Matt Wojda argued that Winfield and her husband had sought to help the child, and at one time even considered adopting him, but allegedly recanted when the boy ‘turned violent and aggressive’.
The teacher’s lawyer also questioned the provenance of the photos and video evidence, accusing the alleged victim of hacking into Winfdield’s phone, to which he had the password.
The court also heard from Michigan State Police Trooper Robert Mitchell, the lead investigator on the case, who testified that police collected evidence that included hotel receipts and Winfield’s bank and credit card statements for hotel rooms booked online.
On Friday, Judge Thomas LaCross ruled there is enough evidence against Winfield for the case to proceed to trial.
Winfield, who has maintained her innocence, resigned from Thunder Bay Junior High School in the fall of 2016, three years after her hiring. so far, she has retained her teaching license.
Not immediately understood is what led to the female educator abusing her position of trust, authority and power and subjugating her male victim.