SEBASTIAN, Fla.– The Florida high school senior facing felony sex offender charges stemming from her relationship with her then 14-year-old girlfriend, has rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors.
Kaitlyn Hunt, a senior at Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Fla., who turned 18 last August, has been charged with two felony counts of “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age” stemming from the relationship, which turned sexual prior to Christmas, according to the arrest record.
Hunt had been offered a plea deal consisting of two years house arrest, one year probation, and sex offender counseling.
Hunt’s parents said earlier this week that a plea deal would only be acceptable if the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor.
“Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida,” said Hunt’s attorney, Julia Graves, in a statement Friday.
“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.”
Hunt will appear in court June 20, and could face 15 years in prison if convicted, and be required to register as a sex offender.
According the arrest record released Monday, Hunt confirmed that she had sexual relations with her girlfriend on two occasions.
The first alleged encounter was in the school’s west wing bathroom. According to the affidavit, they kissed and Hunt allegedly touched the other girl sexually.
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Each of the charges against Hunt are for two specific time periods: Dec. 1 to 31 and for Jan. 1 to 16.
On Tuesday, the ACLU of Florida condemned prosecutors, and said older high schoolers dating their younger counterparts is an innocuous, everyday occurrence that is not prosecuted – regardless of sexual orientation – and not a crime on par with predatory sex offenses.
“This is a life sentence for behavior by teenagers that is all too common, whether they are male or female, gay or straight. High-school relationships may be fleeting, but felony convictions are not,” said Baylor Johnson of the ACLU of Florida.