Rights & Liberties
3 min

Kaitlyn Hunt rejects deal after charged for relationship with 14-year-old

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — A Florida teen charged with felony offences for having a relationship with a 14-year-old girl turned down a plea deal that would have put her under house arrest for two years. The deal included a charge of child abuse and a year of probation.

Pink News reports that Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, will now face a court hearing June 20, with the prospect of serving up to 15 years in prison if she is convicted in a trial.

Hunt faces charges of lewd and lascivious activity filed by the
14-year-old's parents. But Hunt's supporters say that the relationship was
consensual and that both girls were minors when they began dating. The Daily Mail
quotes Hunt's mother, Kelley, as saying that her daughter began the
consenting relationship with her younger girlfriend, who played on the
same basketball team, not long after Kaitlyn turned 18.

According to Florida statutory rape law, anyone younger than 16 cannot consent to sexual activity.

Hunt was expelled from Sebastian River High School and is now attending an alternative school. She will reportedly be permitted to walk with her graduating class next month.

Hunt's father believes his daughter is being persecuted because she is gay, but state attorney Bruce Colton denies that Hunt is being targeted because of her sexuality. 

"That has nothing to do with the case, nothing to do with the law,
nothing to do with the sheriff's office filing the charges," Colton
said, according to The Daily Mail. "The law doesn't make any
differentiation. It doesn't matter if it's two girls or two boys, or an
older boy and a younger girl or an older girl and a younger boy.
Whatever the combination, it doesn't matter," Colton is quoted as
saying.

A statement from Hunt's attorneys reads, "Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida.

"This is a situation of two teenagers who happen to be of the same sex involved in a relationship. If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be no media attention to this case.

"Our client is a model citizen. She has been placed in an environment of school with her classmates where they go to school together, have lunch together, and play on the same team and are allowed to have communication and contact without barriers. Then when something develops between the two as a result of this environment created by the State, it leads to criminal prosecution.

"If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when she was 17, we wouldn’t even be here.

"Right now this is the biggest thing in her life. We are going to stand behind her. Her family and friends are going to stand behind her.

"This is not logical. The State is willing to take this teenager’s life away over 108 days.

"Along with Kaitlyn and her family, we are going to fight to have the law changed so no other teenager finds themselves in this same position created by the State of Florida and prosecuted unfairly. Now we as counsel need to get down to the serious business of fighting for this teenager’s life."

Kaitlyn's attorney, Julia Graves, said they are asking for the charges to be lessened to a misdemeanour, "as is common in these sorts of cases, and for Kaitlyn to not have to register as a sex offender," examiner.com reports.

At the conclusion of her client's case, Graves said, "we will continue to work and reach out to lawmakers with the assistance of Equality Florida, the ACLU and many others to address the failings of the law that criminalizes high school students, and is too often used by parents to object to the race, ethnicity or gender of the schoolmate their teenager is dating."

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