by EMILY BEZERRA Social Media Coordinator
Eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt has been arrested for having a relationship with a 15-year-old girl. Hunt could face up to 15 years in prison, but denied the plea deal the state attorney’s office offered her.
The “victim” was 14 when she and Hunt began dating in November 2012. However, not only did the two have a relationship, they participated in sexual activity together. This lead to the minor’s parents reporting Hunt to the police.
The now 15-year-old, whose name remains private, did not have approval from her parents to date Hunt. Laurie Smith, the alleged victim’s mother, claims to have gone to the police as a last resort.
“We had actually told Miss Hunt that this was wrong,” Smith told CNN. “We had no alternative but to turn to the law and use it basically as a last resort.”
Hunt now faces two felony counts of “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16”, a statutory rape charge, after the 15-year-old’s parents pressed charges earlier this year. Police came to Hunt’s home February 16 and hand-cuffed the 18-year-old.
Prosecutors offered Hunt a plea deal, which would excuse her from being registered as a sex offender, so long as she pleaded guilty to lesser charges of child abuse. Hunt would also avoid spending time in prison, as long as she completed two years of house arrest followed by one year of probation.
The Hunt family also previously stated to the press that they would not accept any plea deal if it did not drop the charges to a misdemeanor.
“I don’t really blame Kaitlyn for denying the plea deal. She’s really not guilty of anything and shouldn’t have anything to admit,” says sophomore Melanie Conlon.
The case will now be taken up in court. If Hunt is found guilty, she is looking at up to 15 years in prison and registering as a sex offender.
State attorney Bruce Colton seems to think that even if Hunt is found guilty in court, she could avoid being registered as a sex offender due to a “Romeo and Juilet” type law, considering the two were no more than four years apart.
Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, is beside herself handling the situation. She believes the parents of the alleged victim are bigoted and homophobic. She is devastated, claiming her daughter’s life is ruined.
Hunt was already expelled from her Florida high school back in February. Now, she could possibly begin her adult life doing jail time as a registered sex offender.
“This is honestly such a disappointing case because Kaitlyn and this minor were both in a relationship willingly, but only one is being punished and one is being looked at as a victim. If the young girl didn’t have a problem with the relationship, why do her parents? Nobody was getting hurt, they’re both still kids in my eyes,” says sophomore Brina Haugland.
Hunt-Smith, along with majority of the media and witnesses, agree that Smith is more against the same-sex relationship rather than the age difference. However, Smith claims she would have proceeded to take this case up with the law, even if her daughter was dating a male.
“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 said. “The law is designed to protect younger children from older children who might be more aggressive in starting a relationship.”
Hunt’s father has created an online petition on Change.org for his daughter, hoping to get enough online petitioners on their side. They have received up to 50,000 online supporters.