Florida: Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, rejects plea offer on sexual assault charges; heading to trial

Florida: Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, rejects plea offer on sexual assault charges; heading to trial
Kaitlyn Hunt with her father Steven Hunt

Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, today rejected a plea offer from Florida prosecutors and will go to trial on charges that her consensual relationship with a younger female schoolmate constituted sexual assault.

She had been arrested and charged with sexual battery for the consensual relationship.  Kate’s girlfriend, a freshman, was 15 at the time the couple began dating. Kate was 17.

From WPBF:

“The other teen’s parents moved to press charges against the 18-year-old Hunt, and she was arrested in February and eventually expelled from Sebastian River High School.

“A conviction could land Hunt in prison for 15 years. A plea deal would have kept her on probation for two years but still could have potentially derailed her future goals to be a nurse.

“Julia Graves, the attorney for the Hunt family, read a statement shortly before noon Friday following Hunt’s decision: “Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the state of Florida,” Graves said. “It’s a situation of two teenagers who happen to be of the same sex involved in a relationship. If this case involved a boy and a girl, we don’t believe there’d be the media attention to this case.”

A couple of things to point out here:

One, Kaitlyn was 17 when she became ‘romantically’ involved with the younger girl at the beginning of the school year.  The younger girl’s parents waited until Kaitlyn was 18 in February to press charges.  Hunt has also been expelled from her Florida high school at the younger girl’s parents urging.

Two, the younger girl’s parents have refused to even deal with Kaitlyn’s parents to try to handle the situation.  Apparently, the mother of the younger girl is so against the idea of her daughter being lesbian that she is bent on destroying Kaitlyn’s life for “making her gay.”

According to Kaitlyn’s father Steven Hunt, “Kate has offered to permanently
cease contact and leave the state if charges are dropped, but that
offer has been rejected by the prosecutor and the girlfriend’s parents.”  
Steven places the blame for this being blown out of proportion on the parent’s of the younger girl.  Says Steven, “These people never came to us, never tried to speak to
us, didn’t try to get the school involved to speak to us and tell us
they had a problem with the girls dating, not one single word. Instead, they set out their vengeance and had Kate arrested on
felony charges.”

If Kaitlyn had taken the plea bargain she could have been labeled a “sex offender” for the rest of her life.

These are two young girls experimenting in their teenage years.  Who knows if they will be lesbian or not?  This is what teenagers do.

The prosecutor’s offer had included two years of house arrest and a guilty plea to “child abuse” for what has been described, so far, as a consensual relationship.

Florida’s age of consent is 18, but “close age” relationships are exempt if the older party is under 24 and the younger is 16 or older.

Hunt’s case has garnered international attention and over 100,000 signatures on a supportive petition.