Controversial underage lesbian sex case heads to trial

Kaitlyn Hunt
Kaitlyn Hunt
Photo Credit: GOP USA

The incredibly sensitive story of a Florida teen being charged with having a same-sex relationship with her underage girlfriend has gripped the entire country with its tremendous legal implications.

Indian River County teenager Kaitlyn Hunt rejected a deal from prosecutors Friday that would have had her plead guilty to felony child abuse in exchange for two years of house arrest and one year of probation. Now, the case will head to trial, with Hunt facing up to 15 years in prison and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

Hunt, 18, was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16 years old for engaging in a consensual relationship with her then 14-year-old girlfriend.

Florida’s 2007 “Romeo and Juliet” law, which prevents 18-year-olds from having to register as sex offenders if they had consensual sex with children aged 15 to 17, doesn’t apply in this case because of the age of the girlfriend.

Hunt’s family and thousands upon thousands of “Stop the hate, free Kate” supporters believe she is being unfairly prosecuted for being a lesbian.

“Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida,” Hunt’s attorney Julia Graves said in a statement. “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.”

Graves continued:

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.

Laurie and Jim Smith
Laurie and Jim Smith
Photo Credit: CBS 12 West Palm Beach

The unnamed girlfriend’s parents said this isn’t about their daughter being a lesbian. Hunt, they said, took their daughter’s innocence and “there deserves some type of punishment for that,” the father told CBS 12 News. They claim that after warning Hunt twice to stay away from their daughter, they ultimately turned to authorities.

The girl’s parents, Laurie and Jim Smith, spoke exclusively to CBS 12 Friday in an effort to defend themselves against protestors and critics who call them gay bashers. They say they stand by their decision to press charges against Hunt even after learning the case will head to trial and their now-15-year-old daughter will have to take the witness stand.

“They know there will be protestors,” CBS 12 reported. “They know there will be a media frenzy, and they know the threats and name calling against them will continue.”

The girlfriend’s father called it “a private family matter” that has “turned into a media circus.”

“How would you feel if somebody came into your house and turned your life upside down?” the father asked.

As the mother of three teenaged daughters who met my own husband, then 18, when I was 15, this story has me wanting to ask the girlfriend’s parents: What in the world were you thinking would happen when you turned to the police? What good can come out of putting your daughter through this?

But the law is the law, and a felony conviction with prison time and sex offender status very well may be Hunt’s future.

“This is a life sentence for behavior that is all too common, whether male, female, gay, straight,” attorney Graves said in a press conference Wednesday. “High school relationships may be fleeting, but felony convictions are forever.”

More from source articles here and here.


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