A married 38-year-old special education teacher is accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student when he was 11 years old more than 100 times. She is being ordered to stand trial as a result of the student’s allegations against her.
Authorities arrested Heather Winfield, 38, in January after launching an investigation in 2016 when she taught at Thunder Bay Junior High School in Alpena, Michigan.
The Detroit Free Press reported that Winfield faces the following criminal charges in relation to the crime:
- Two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under 13 years old
- Criminal sexual conduct with a child between the ages of 13 and 15
- Criminal sexual conduct during the commission of a felony
- Second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child younger than 13 years old
- Using a computer to commit a crime
- Accosting a minor for immoral purposes
If Winfield is convicted of the charges against her, she could face a penalty of up to life in prison.
Winfield’s accuser, who is 14 years old, testified during preliminary court hearings that he was abused starting at the age of 11 and described more than 100 sexual encounters with the special education teacher in Alpena hotel rooms over the past three years, the Alpena News reported.
The alleged victim told the court last week that the special education teacher spoiled him with gifts, from fishing gear and bikes to vacations in Florida and Tennessee with her family.
The 14-year-old then testified that he had his first sexual encounter with Winfield in 2016 in a trailer located in the teacher’s backyard.
The two would then go on to have multiple trysts in campsites and hotel rooms, according to the 14-year-old.
“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 had nude photos of Winfield from one of their sexual encounters.
Judge Thomas LaCross ruled Friday that there may be enough evidence to send Winfield’s case to trial. Winfield, who says she is innocent of the charges against her, resigned from her position at the middle school in 2016 and still has her teaching license.