INDIAN RIVER COUNTY (CBSMiami) – Kaitlyn Hunt, an 18-year-old lesbian accused of having a relationship with a 14-year-old basketball teammate rejected a plea deal Friday that would have kept her name off the Florida sex offender registry.
Hunt was a high school cheerleader and star basketball player in Indian River County before her relationship came to light. She faces two felony charges of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16 years old.READ MORE: Safety Training Institute Behind Sounds Of Bullets & Bombs Coming From Doral Field
If she was convicted of the charges, her sentence could range from probation to 15 years in prison and registering as a sex offender, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.
“It’s mind blowing that she’s facing felony charges and sexual predator status,” her mother Kelley Hunt-Smith told CBS4 earlier this week.
She believes the issue is not about age, it’s about sexual orientation.
“This is being fueled by the other girls parents. They’re not accepting of their relationship because it’s a girl on girl relationship. In my opinion, this has nothing to do with age, if Katilyn was a boy they would not have a problem,” said Hunt-Smith.
The parents of the other girl, Lori and Jim Smith, talked exclusively with the CBS affiliate in West Palm Beach, WPEC. They said the social media campaign, Free Kate, is slandering, abusive, and destructive.READ MORE: Miami Weather: Showers & Storms In The Afternoon, Heavy Downpours Possible
The Smith’s said they are not anti-gay, but got fed up with the “bad influence” Hunt was on their daughter.
“The stories that people are saying,” Lori said before hesitating while fighting back tears. “I love my daughter and I’m willing to do whatever to protect her.”
The Smith’s said Hunt should be punished but shouldn’t be sent to prison or labeled as a sex offender.
Hunt, who turned 18 on August 14, 2012, was said to have been dating the 14-year old, C.S., since November. The girls began their fling just before Christmas when they had consensual sex in a bathroom at Sebastian River High School, according to the paper.
In Florida, the legal age of sexual consent is 18 and the state’s adopted “Romeo and Juliet” law keeps 18 year olds from being registered as sex offenders if they had consensual sex with classmates age 15 or older; but Hunt’s case doesn’t qualify because C.S. was underage, Indian River State Attorney Bruce Colton told the Herald.
Hunt’s friends and family are doing everything they can to help her including setting up a Facebook page for support, called “Free Kate,” which now has more than 25,000 members.
According to the Herald, Hunt’s attorneys issued a press release that said in part: “Our client is a courageous teenager who is choosing not to accept the current plea offer by the State of Florida…If this case involved a boy and girl, there would be no media attention to this case.”MORE NEWS: Jury Selection Process Resumes In Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz Penalty Trial
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)