There are new details surrounding potential legal ramifications for Kaitlyn Hunt, the recent high school graduate who is in hot water over a lesbian relationship she carried on with a minor. Hunt, who turned 19 on Wednesday, was given a new plea deal in the dramatic case surrounding her sexual encounters with a 14-year-old girl.
The Florida state attorney's office offered a softer option, one that would free the teen from a possible 15-year prison sentence if she's convicted of sex with a minor during her coming trial this fall. Rather than being placed behind bars, Hunt would -- pending she takes the deal -- be given three years probation and an 11 p.m. curfew.
In this photo made available by the Hunt family, Kaitlyn Hunt and her father Steve in Vero Beach, Fla., Monday May 20, 2013. (AP)
Additionally, she would need to complete 150 hours of community service over this time period, doing a minimum of 10 hours per month. Most notably, Hunt would need to stay away from the victim.
In exchange for agreeing to these demands, among others, all charges would be wiped from Hunt's record following the completion of the three-year period. She would also not be given a felony conviction, nor would she be forced to register as a sex offender. Previously, Hunt was given a deal that included two years of house arrest; this has been dropped from the new option prosecutors are giving her.
WPEC-TV reported that the deal is on the table with no expiration date, which gives the young woman some time to consider her options. While no date has been set, Hunt is expected in court on Sept. 26 to begin exploring beginning dates for the impending trial.
Over the past four months, Hunt's supporters, led by her parents, have argued that she has been unfairly targeted because she is gay. They launched a "Stop the Hate, Free Kate" campaign, and more than 300,000 people have signed a petition calling for the charges against her to be dropped. But opponents argue that the charges waged against the teen strictly stem from the fact that she had sexual interactions with an underage woman.
TheBlaze extensively covered the debate surrounding the controversial relationship. Hunt, who graduated high school this year, was arrested in February after a relationship she had with a younger female student at her school came to light.
Initially, there was confusion surrounding the ages of the two women when their sexual contact began. An arrest affidavit claimed that the relationship started in Nov. 2012 when Kaitlyn was 18 and the unnamed minor was 14.
Earlier this year, though, Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, wrote the following in a Facebook post: “The two girls began dating while Kaitlyn was 17 but her girlfriend’s parents blamed Kailtyn for their daughter’s homosexuality. They waited until after Kaitlyn turned 18 and went to the police to have charges brought against her.”
In interviews with detectives, the younger girl said that the two performed sexual acts on one another both at the school and at Kaitlyn’s home in Sebastian, Fla., up until January 2013. Authorities apparently recorded a phone call between the two during which Kaitlyn said she loved the girl.
But Laurie and Jim Smith, the underage girl's parents, broke their silence a few days after the media frenzy began back in May in an attempt to debunk what they claim was incorrect information about their stance on the relationship and their handling of the legal drama.
In an interview with WPEC-TV, Laurie said that she and her husband both repeatedly told Hunt that the relationship wasn’t right and, by their account, the older teen refused to listen. The “Free Kate” mantra, the Smiths maintain, hasn’t been an accurate one thus far.
“It’s not the way it was. It was quite different,” she said. “We had actually told Miss Hunt that this was wrong.”
The high schooler was allegedly warned twice.
“Another adult, a mother, came to me and said ‘Ms. Smith you need to know this…we told Miss Hunt to leave your daughter alone. But they are in a relationship, and she’s 18.’ Eighteen? My daughter is only 14,” she said.
When their daughter, whose name is withheld, because she's a minor, began acting out, as many teens do, she ran away. Jim called the shock “the worst thing” that he has ever experienced. Assuming that she wouldn’t have willingly fled, the parents initially assumed that someone took her — but that wasn’t the case.
After being told to stay away from their daughter, Kate purportedly picked up the 14-year-old. Because the relationship apparently didn’t stop, despite the aforementioned warnings, the Smiths said they had no choice but to turn to the law.
As far as the issue of homosexuality goes, Laurie and Jim seemed perplexed in their WPEC-TV interview. While they have been painted as anti-gay in media and slapped with allegations that they blame Hunt for their daughter’s sexuality, the embattled parents said that this isn’t how they feel about the issue.
“They made me seem as if I’m a monster,” Laurie said of bloggers’ attacks, noting that she and her husband have turned to the media to get their story out. “That’s why I’m talking to you…The stories that people are saying…I love my daughter and I am willing to do whatever to protect her.”
(H/T: Daily Mail)