It was less than two months ago when we reported on the rather serious arrest of Michigan middle school special ed teacher, Heather Winfield. Winfield stood accused of having had sexual relations with both a boy believed to be 11, and a boy believed to be 12 or 13.
What we know now is that those charges referred to the very same boy, with an alleged sexual relationship lasting two years. The charges themselves change when the victim is 12 and under, then agains when 13 to 15. And according to the star witness, the boy himself, now 14, he and Heather Winfield had sex 100 times.
Heather Winfield Denied All Charges at the Time of Her Arrest
Upon her arrest on multiple felony sex crimes, Heather Winfield expressed through her attorneys her total innocence. The severity of the crimes meant that Winfield is looking at up to life in prison.
This past week, following a pre-trial examination, the now former Thunder Bay Junior High School special education teacher, was ordered to stand trial based on sufficient evidence to proceed.
Winfield’s attorney had urged the judge to drop the case due to lack of physical evidence and due to the credibility issues with the boy victim, who testified during these proceedings. In particular, the boy had told police originally that he and Winfield frequently had sex around Winfield’s house and visited numerous area hotels since he was 11-years old and had had sex “1,000 times”. Later, he changed that to merely 100 times.
That discrepancy could indicate the child is being fantastical. Or it could indicate a pre-pubescent boy engaged in a multiyear, rampant sexual fling with an older married teacher who has under-formed executive functioning and memory. The judge seemed to go for the latter.
Winfield Faces an Uphill Battle
Winfield’s team is contending lack of physical evidence in the case. Though Winfield was also charged with “using a computer to commit a crime”. A rather vague charge that may indicate there are digital communications of some kind between the two.
As I always caution, without these digital trails, who’s to say who’s telling the truth? Maybe the boy is fibbing to get attention, or to hurt a teacher he doesn’t like. Though you’d imagine that if they visited dozens of motels in the area for statutory rape afternoon delights, there’d be some extensive amount of billing records to indicate such.
Even if Winfield paid in cash, interview local motel owners asking if they remember this grown teacher woman coming into the motel with an eager looking boy wrapped in a bow. Not to mention, Winfield is a wife and a mom, so somebody must’ve noted her extensive absences during non-work hours. I can’t grab a beer for more than 20 minutes with a friend without a “where are U?” check in from the wife.
The Young Lovers of These Female Teachers Are Often Quite Young
While the majority of the cases we’ve track involved high school teachers with teenaged, typically upperclassman boys, there certainly have been some shockingly young ages for some of these alleged teacher sex crimes:
Teaching assistant and mom, Jessica Jewel Benton, was taken downtown for sexual relations with an 11-year old male student in Texas.
Katherine R. Gonzalez, a Milwaukee elementary school teacher, received five years in prison for feeling up her fifth grade male student while the two watched Deadpool at her house
South Carolina middle school basketball coach, Allison Leigh Chilton, has a lesbian romance with a 12-year old girl at the school.
And of course, infamous Arizona middle school teacher, Brittany Zamora, chose a lover she wanted to spend the day with having sex who was the ripe age of 13.