Winfield granted out-of-state vacation

ALPENA — Former Alpena Public Schools teacher Heather Winfield, who was on March 1 bound over to the 26th Circuit Court on multiple charges of criminal sexual conduct against a former student, will be allowed to leave the state for 10 days following a revision to her bond conditions.

The original conditions prohibited Winfield from leaving the state without court approval.

On Wednesday, defense attorneys filed a motion to amend bond conditions to allow Winfield to travel out-of-state for a family vacation, court records show. She still must adhere to other portions of her bond requirements, including that she not visit places frequented by children.

Defense attorneys contended in their motion that Winfield is not a flight risk because she was born and raised in Alpena, has three young children in Alpena schools, and has asserted her innocence and will continue to actively defend herself.

The defense attempted to obtain the prosecution’s consent to the out-of-state travel, but Assistant Prosecutor Cynthia Muszynski declined to sign the stipulation.

Nonetheless, the motion for the change in bond conditions was granted by Judge Michael Mack on Friday.

Prosecutors were in the midst of filing a response when the motion was granted by the court without a hearing on the matter, Muszynski said.

Windfield’s bond was set at $250,000 after her arrest on Jan. 11. After several days in jail because she was unable to provide the required 10 percent to secure her release, Winfield filed a petition through her attorney to be allowed to post bail by putting up her house as collateral.

The defendant and her husband, as well as the defendant’s parents, have pledged their family homes in lieu of cash to secure Winfield’s release.

The original conditions of Winfield’s bond also stipulate that she not go on school property or in places frequented by children, not exhibit harassing behavior, have no firearms within her home or vehicles, and have no contact with children other than her own.

On Jan. 29 the bond was amended by an agreement of prosecutors and the defense to permit contact with nieces and nephews, provided that she not be alone with them.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693 or jriddle@thealpenanews.com.