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Florida teen fighting criminal charges related to same-sex relationship

Saturday, May 18, 2013
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SEBASTIAN, Fla. — A Florida high school senior is facing two years of house arrest, probation and a lifetime as a registered sex offender after engaging in a same-sex relationship with another student.

Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, a senior at Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Fla., has been charged with two felony counts of “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age” stemming from her sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl, according to arrest records.

Kaitlyn HuntBooking photo

Hunt was arrested on Feb. 16 after her girlfriend’s parents filed a complaint with local police.

“She had a mutual consenting relationship with her girlfriend who is three years younger, and her parents had her arrested,” according to Kaitlyn’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith.

“This is about two teenage high school girls who were dating, and both consenting,” Smith told LGBTQ Nation on Saturday. “They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay.”

According to Smith, the two girls started dating when her daughter was 17. Hunt turned 18 on August 14, 2012.

Following the arrest, the Indian River School Board expelled Hunt based on the criminal charges, according to Smith, but said she would be able to participate in graduation and senior class events. She is completing her senior year at an alternative school, and has been ordered not to have contact with her former girlfriend.

Hunt faces the possibility of a 15-year prison sentence, but was offered a plea deal this week by state attorney Brian Workman, according to Smith.

Under the terms of the plea deal, Hunt would be sentenced to two years house arrest, and allowed to attend school or work only during that time, one year of probation and attend sex offender counseling. It would be at a judge’s discretion whether Hunt would be required to register as a sex offender.

“We have until next Friday to either agree with an outrageous plea offer, or start trial,” said Smith.

If Hunt rejects the deal, she would face a jury trial in the predominantly conservative Indian River County, and if convicted, would face up to 15 years in prison and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

Under Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” Law, an “offender” can petition the court to remove the requirement to register as a sex offender if the “victim in the case” is between 14 and 17 years old, “a willing participant in the sexual activity and no more than four years younger than the offender,” but historically the law has only been applied in cases between heterosexuals.

A petition at Change.org is calling on the state’s attorney’s office to drop the charges against Hunt.

Hunt was unavailable for comment under the advice of her attorney.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect the alleged victim’s age was 14 at the time of the incidents, according to the arrest record and Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar.

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