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CMU Student Files Lawsuit Against Isabella County Priest

Father Denis Heames was a priest at the St. Mary’s Parish on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

Back in July, Father Denis Heames was placed on administrative leave by the Catholic diocese of Saginaw after he was accused of violating priestly conduct. He was permanently replaced by Father Thomas McNamara in August.

Last month, a CMU student filed a lawsuit against Father Heames, stating he initiated weekly one-on-one counseling to help her spiritually after joining the parish in August 2012. From there, the relationship became sexual.

According to the lawsuit, Father Heames hired the student as a media intern for the parish in 2012 in an attempt to help conceal their relationship.

The student worked for the parish and had a relationship with Father Heames for two years.

According to the lawsuit, the student claims she was coerced into the sexual relationship and contact occurred against her will on multiple occasions, but she feared turning down advances because of his status as a "messenger of God".

The lawsuit states Father Heames ended the relationship in August 2014, fired the student from the internship and told people she had seduced him.

In the lawsuit, Father Heames is accused of battery, defamation, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

St. Mary’s Parish, the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw and a female employee for the diocese are also named in the lawsuit.