Kaitlyn Hunt is a senior at Sebastian River High School in Sebastian, Florida. She has been charged with two felony counts of “lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16 years of age” because she had a sexual relationship with a fifteen-year-old girl. The catch, Kaitlyn only turned 18 at the end of last year.
Hunt was arrested on 16 February after her girlfriend’s parents filed a complaint with local police. According to Kaitlyn’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, “She had a mutual consenting relationship with her girlfriend who is three years younger, and her parents had her arrested. . . This is about two teenage high school girls who were dating, and both consenting. . .They were out to destroy my daughter, they feel like my daughter ‘made’ their daughter gay. They are bigoted, religious zeolites [sic] that see being gay as a sin and wrong, and they blame my daughter.”
The two girls have been dating for more than a year. Hunt turned 18 on 14 August of 2012.
Since her arrest, Kaitlyn has been expelled by the Indian River School Board, ostensibly based on the criminal charges, and been ordered not to have contact with her former girlfriend.
Hunt faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted by a jury, but was offered a plea deal by state attorney Brian Workman. Under the plea deal, Hunt would be sentenced to two years house arrest, one year of probation, and be forced to attend sex offender counseling. The judge could also require Hunt be forced to register as a sex offender. She has until the end of this week to decide.
Florida’s Romeo and Juliet Law allows for an ‘offender’ to petition the court to remove the requirement to register as a sex offender if the ‘victim’ is between 14 and 17 and ‘a willing participant in the sexual activity and no more than four years younger than the offender.’ Unfortunately, the law has only ever been applied to heterosexual couples.
Change.org has a petition started to get the state attorney to drop the charges.
Traditionally, the Romeo and Juliet Law has been inconsistently applied, and often times, they have been used quite often to punish girlfriends and boyfriends that parents object to.