Student, 14, reveals he had sexual encounters with married teacher more than 100 times
A former student from Michigan has accused a married special education teacher of assaulting him more than 100 times since he was just 11 years old. The teacher has now been ordered to stand trial for her crimes. Following a lengthy investigation that began back in 2016, Heather Winfield, 38, was arrested in January while she was still working as a teacher at Thunder Bay Junior High School in Alpena, Daily Mail reports.
Winfield has since been charged with a series of crimes, including 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.
Winfield is still married and lives with her husband and her children despite her legal troubles, per recent social media posts. That said, she could face up to life in prison if she's convicted of the charges lined up against her.
According to Alpena News, Winfield's accuser, now 14, testified during preliminary hearings last week saying the abuse started when he was 11 and included over 100 sexual encounters in hotel rooms around Alpena over the course of three years.
The teenager has claimed that Winfield spoiled him with expensive gifts including shoes, bikes, fishing gear, and even took him along on her family vacations to Tennessee and Florida before eventually making sexual advances in 2016.
The alleged victim claimed that his first sexual encounter with Winfield took place on July 2, 2016, in a trailer at one of the teacher's properties before the couple went on to have multiple romps at hotels and at campsites around the city. "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."
According to the 14-year-old, he has in his possession nude snaps of Winfield along with a video filmed during one of their encounters.
The allegations first came to light after the victim's former girlfriend, then aged 12, read Facebook conversations between him and the teacher. She immediately alerted the Michigan State Police of their relationship, thereby spurring an investigation.
In Winfield's defense, her attorney asked the judge to dismiss the case as the boy had previously claimed that he and his former educator had sex 1,000 times before changing it to 100.
According to Defense attorney Matt Wojda, Winfield and her husband wanted to help the troubled child and had even considered adopting him at one point. However, the plan was scrapped after the boy reportedly turned violent and aggressive. Speaking of the photos and video evidence recovered from the teenager, the teacher's lawyer accused the alleged victim of downloading the data from Winfield's phone without her knowledge as he knew the password.
State Police Trooper Robert Mitchell, who is leading the investigation, told the court that evidence collected by police included hotel receipts and Winfield's bank and credit card statements for hotel rooms booked online. Judge Thomas LaCross ruled on Friday that there is enough evidence for Winfield's case to go to trial.
Winfield has maintained her innocence and still retains her teaching license in Michigan. She resigned from Thunder Bay Junior High School in the fall of 2016, three years after she joined the institute.