Kaitlyn Hunt, an 18 year old high school student from Indian River County, Florida, is facing felony charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with a then unnamed 15 year old girl.
The senior student went on to tell how first became friends with the underage female student at Sebastian River High School at the beginning of the school year and later began dating just after Kate had turned 18. At the time the implications of the relationship did not occur to her. Florida age of consent laws mandate that an individual eighteen or above can not date a minor, regardless of gender, where as a 17 year old can date a 14 year old for example and not be held legally liable.
Nevertheless the 15 year old girl’s parents took exception once they found out about the relationship a few months later and went on to press charges as well as petitioning the school board to have Kaitlyn Hunt expelled just weeks before her graduation. The expulsion is said to have occurred despite a judge issuing a decree that Kaitlyn Hunt could still attend school as long as she didn’t have contact with the girl.
Since the charges and expulsion, Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith has gone on a crusade to vindicate her daughter who is facing charges of ‘lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years old.’
Tells the mother on a “Free Kate” Facebook page :
They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay. They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100% differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality – with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter.
The mother has also since gone to set up a page where instructions are given as to help alleviate the family’s more than $50 000 in legal fees.
Tells Kelley Hunt Smith on change.org petition:
“I just put our story out there on Friday. I wanted people to know what was going on. Within 30 minutes, I had so many outpouring support. On Saturday evening, we crashed the change.org website. The president of change.org contacted us personally.”
And reflecting on how the support has helped her gain perspective:
“I wondered if I was crazy, if it was only because I’m a mom. But I wondered if anyone else thought, like me, that this was wrong and unjust. Apparently, they do.”
To date the state attorney’s office has offered Kaitlyn a plea deal, which would include two years of house arrest and placing her on a sex offender’s registry.
Tells Smith: “She would have a lifetime sexual offender on her record. She would not be able to, we think we all know what that means. It’s a death sentence for her, her life would be over at 18.”
“Kaitlyn would not hurt a fly,” Smith went on to say. “She didn’t know what she was doing was ‘wrong’ or illegal. There was no intent to hurt anybody or commit a crime. I know that’s not an excuse for the letter of the law, but it’s reality.”
Kaitlyn Hunt has until Friday whether to accept the deal or face going to trial.
Of course one wonders would there be so much hysteria had Kaitlyn Hunt being an 18 year old boy who would nonetheless be subjected to the same charges as well. Then again one wonders if any charges would have been brought in the first place had Kaitlyn’s 15 year old friend had been dating an 18 year old boy instead. Something that goes on without a second batting of the eyelid at most schools.
Above images via Facebook