When you were in high school, did you know any seniors who were dating freshmen? Probably.
But do you ever remember any of them getting arrested for sexual battery? Probably not.
One Florida teenager was expelled and is now facing felony charges for “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16.” Her crime – entering into a consensual relationship with a younger female classmate.
Kaitlyn Hunt was a senior at Sebastian River High School, who by all accounts was an exemplary student. She got good grades, was a cheerleader and played on the school’s basketball team.
Which is why her family was stunned and shocked when police arrived at the home of the 18-year-old in February to arrest her.
According to The Examiner, Kaitlyn was involved with a 15-year-old female student (and fellow athlete) at the beginning of the school year. “This was unusual for Kate,” her mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, wrote in an statement posted to Facebook. “She has always dated boys, but being the kind of mother I am, I didn’t want to make it a big deal.”
“I talked to her about it, and figured it was just a social thing, times have changed and a lot of kids are experimenting, so I didn’t make much of it… The girls would hang out together at after school activities, I was there, I saw the other girl’s father there several times, he saw them together as well, so I assumed her family was aware of it and didn’t have any issues either.
Apparently, that wasn’t the case, because when the younger girl’s parents found out about the consensual relationship, they pressed charges. The family also successfully petitioned the school board to have Kaitlyn expelled weeks before her graduation.
“These people never came to us as parents, never tried to speak to us… and tell us they had a problem with the girls dating,” Hunt-Smith wrote. “…They were out to destroy my daughter. [They] feel like my daughter ‘made’ their daughter gay.”
(Image via Facebook)
Since then, the state attorney’s office has offered Kaitlyn Hunt a plea deal which includes two years’ house arrest and a year of probation, which would stay on her adult record. And if she does not accept the deal and is convicted of the charges, she will have to register as a sex offender – which carries serious repercussions.
The case has sparked an outpouring of support online, including a Change.org petition with nearly 70,000 signatures, urging the Indian River County State Attorney’s Office to stop pursuing prosecution.
“This isn’t sexual abuse. This isn’t a crime. This is a case of two teen girls who embarked on a relationship together who have a small age difference and who happen to be of the same gender,” wrote Mommyish contributor Eve Vawter.
What do you think? If an 18-year-old boy was dating a 15-year-old girl from the same school, do you think he would be facing the same charges?
For more information, the “Free Kate” website provides details about the case as well as how to donate money to help Kaitlyn’s family with more than $50,000 in legal fees.