Heather Winfield, a former Detroit area special education teacher, is accused of sexually assaulting one of her male students at least 100 times, The Detroit Free Press is reporting.
Winfield, 38, had previously been a teacher at Thunder Bay Junior High School in Alpena. According to The Alpena News, she allegedly began a sexual relationship with one of her students when he was 11-years-old. That relationship allegedly continued over the next three years; the boy is now 14.
During that time, Winfield would allegedly rent hotel rooms around the Alpena area so she and the victim could have sex. Lead investigator Robert Mitchell said that receipts and phone records corroborate at least parts of the boy’s account; specifically, Mitchell says that over the course of the alleged relationship, Winfield booked 16 different hotel rooms and allegedly had sex with the young boy in them.
In one case, the boy said that Winfield had to find other arrangements after the hotel where they had booked was overbooked because of a hockey tournament; Mitchell said that credit card receipts back up that claim. In another case, the boy claimed that Winfield came to his grandmother’s house to pick him up and that Winfield was in possession of a sex toy that she had just recently purchased at an Alpena sex shop – a toy that the two allegedly used together. That, too, was backed up by credit card receipts.
Speaking to Judge Thomas LaCross, Winfield’s defense team said that prosecutors have a thin case against their client based on the unreliable testimony of a teenager and precious little physical evidence. The alleged victim, for example, has claimed that he and Winfield had sex in front of other people and that they had sex “probably 1,000 times,” a number he later reduced to 100. Similarly, the entirety of the physical evidence against Winfield consists of a partially-nude photo of Winfield on the victim’s phone — a photo which “appeared” to have been doctored by the boy. In addition, a video purportedly shows the boy lifting Winfield’s shirt and bra. Also, there is allegedly an ultrasound image that Winfield reportedly sent to the boy in an attempt to convince him that she was pregnant; the image also includes part of a Google search bar.
LaCross, however, told the court that after looking through the evidence, he’s forced to send the case to trial.
“We have evidence that substantiates and corroborates his circumstantial evidence that there was an improper relationship between two troubled people. Are his exaggerations to be believed? Absolutely not. But does that mean we aren’t to believe anything? No, no, no.”
Winfield faces two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child younger than 13-years-old; multiple individual counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct during the commission of a felony; multiple counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child aged 13- to 15-years-old; multiple counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child younger than 13-years-old; counts of accosting a minor for immoral purposes; and using a computer to commit a crime.