Wednesday, March 2, 2016

CMU student's lawsuit against former Catholic priest alleges sexual relationship |

A Central Michigan University student has filed a lawsuit regarding a sexual relationship she says she had with a now-former priest from the parish serving the school.

Megan Winans, through her Lansing attorney James Heos, filed the lawsuit in January in Isabella County Circuit Court, alleging the Rev. Denis Heames asked her to keep their sexual relationship a secret.

Winans is a senior at CMU, according to CM Life, the student newspaper at CMU.

Heames, 43, served as parochial administrator for St. Mary University Parish in Mount Pleasant until July, when he first was placed on administrative leave and then removed from his position for what the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw called "boundary violations."

The diocese has stated the "boundary violations" were not of an illegal nature, though no additional details about the incident or incidents that led to the decision regarding Heames were released.
On this point, SNAP makes an excellent statement, "Many know about child molesting Catholic clerics. But few realize priests abusing vulnerable adults is as or more widespread but still deeply hidden. It’s always wrong and hurtful for doctors to have sex with patients, therapists to have sex with clients and ministers to have sex with congregants. That’s especially true in Catholicism, where parishioners are taught, from birth, to respect and trust priests as holy celibate men who can forgive sins and get them into heaven,,, So let no one be misled: this was NOT an “affair.” It was shrewd, subtle, selfish manipulation by a highly educated, cunning predator who took advantage of the prestige afforded by the Roman collar to satisfy himself and exploit a trusting young woman."
The lawsuit alleges Heames used a counseling relationship he established with Winans to initiate a sexual relationship with her. Once that began, Heames hired Winans as a "media intern" at the church, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges Heames "justified his sexual relationship (with Winans) by explaining it through religious and spiritual means."

"Heames continued to abuse his position by maintaining a sexual relationship with (Winans) for nearly two years, asking her to keep their relationship secret," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit states the relationship between Heames and Winans ended in August 2014. At that time, Heames "revoked (Winans') position as media intern," the lawsuit states.
CMU student's lawsuit against former Catholic priest alleges sexual relationship |

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