Kaitlyn Hunt is 18 years old, and is openly lesbian. She should be gearing up to graduate from Sebastian River High School near Vero Beach. Instead, she's facing criminal charges brought by the ultra-vindictive parents of her girlfriend. The reason? Her partner is 15 years old.
Hunt was arrested on Feb. 16 after her girlfriend’s parents filed a complaint with local police.Calling the parents of Kate's girlfriend petty and vindictive would be putting it extremely mildly. Rather than go to Kate's parents, they twiddled their thumbs until February--seven months after Kate turned 18--then went to the police. Now Kate potentially faces 15 years in prison and having to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.
“She had a mutual consenting relationship with her girlfriend who is three years younger, and her parents had her arrested,” according to Kaitlyn’s mother, Kelley Hunt Smith.
“This is about two teenage high school girls who were dating, and both consenting,” Smith told LGBTQ Nation on Saturday. “They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she ‘made’ their daughter gay.”
According to Smith, the two girls started dating when her daughter was 17. Hunt turned 18 on August 14, 2012.
Following the arrest, the Indian River School Board expelled Hunt based on the criminal charges, according to Smith, but said she would be able to participate in graduation and senior class events. She is completing her senior year at an alternative school, and has been ordered not to have contact with her former girlfriend.
Last week, Indian River County state's attorney Brian Workman offered a plea deal--two years' house arrest and one year's probation with mandatory sex offender counseling. However, it would still be on her permanent record, and she could still potentially have to register as a sex offender.
Kate's parents have no intention of taking the plea, even though they have until next Friday to decide. They've started a Facebook group, Free Kate, to publicize their cause. They've also started a petition asking Workman to drop the charges. They're also taking donations for a legal defense fund in case Workman isn't willing to bend--donate here.
7:13 PM PT: Since this made the rec list, I thought I'd link up some more details. According to Kate's mom, Kate was expelled from school even though a judge ruled she posed no threat. And according to the "about" section of the Free Kate group, this all came down when the coach of the girls' basketball team found out about the relationship and kicked Kate off the team. The girlfriend's parents then got her to talk about their relationship with Kate--after Kate turned 18.
7:37 PM PT: Just to clarify--this would be no less outrageous if we were talking about a heterosexual relationship. While the homophobia adds a grisly dimension, the girl's parents would look every bit as petty if Kate were a boy rather than a girl.
8:34 PM PT: Just got confirmation from Kate's uncle on Facebook--if Kate takes the plea deal, she'd still be a convicted felon. And that would pretty much screw her out of getting a decent job. I have to wonder if the girlfriend's parents knew this when they decided to pull this stunt.