Daily Dispatches
Kaitlyn Hunt
Indian River County Sheriff’s Office
Kaitlyn Hunt

Father of 18-year-old lesbian calls daughter’s statutory rape charge unfair

Homosexuality

An 18-year-old is accused of statutory rape with a 14-year-old schoolmate in the state of Florida. The catch: Both teenagers are girls, and the parents of 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt have rallied supporters claiming she is being punished for her same-sex relationship.

Having rejected a plea deal that would place Hunt under two years of house arrest and label her a sex offender, she now could face up to 15 years in prison for her two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child between the ages of 12 and 16.

Earlier today, the Facebook group “Free Kate” has garnered more than 52,400 members, and a petition to stop the prosecution has more than 300,000 signatures. On the petition page, Hunt’s father, Steven Hunt Jr., described his daughter as a cheerleader and basketball player with a bright future who was wrongly charged.

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“My daughter Kaitlyn is a wonderful 18-year-old who is not guilty of anything other than a high school romance,” he wrote. “Kaitlyn’s girlfriend’s parents are pressing charges because they are against the same-sex relationship, even though their daughter has stated that this is a consensual relationship.”

He went on to claim that even though the two started dating when Hunt was 17, the younger girl’s parents waited until she turned 18 to bring up the charges.

But according to the arrest affidavit, the two girls started a relationship on Nov. 3, 2012, months after Hunt turned 18. They met on the basketball team and in the following months had sexual encounters in the school bathroom and Hunt’s bedroom. When Hunt was asked in a police interview if she knew it was wrong to have sex with a 14-year-old, the affidavit said, “Kaitlyn stated that she did not think about it because [the girl] acted older.”

The younger girl’s parents insist they did not report the relationship because of the homosexual nature of it, but out of concern for their daughter.

“We had actually told Miss Hunt that this was wrong,” the victim’s mother told CNN. Her father added, “We had no alternative but to turn to the law and use it as basically a last resort.”

State officials are also now needing to stress that the age of consent for sexual relationships—16 in the state of Florida—remains the same regardless of gender.

“One of the reasons this case has gotten people’s attention is because it’s being publicized as a person being persecuted because she’s gay, and that has nothing to do with the case, nothing to do with the law, nothing to do with the sheriff’s office filing the charges,” State Attorney Bruce Colton said. “The law doesn’t make any differentiation. It doesn’t matter if it’s two girls or two boys, or an older boy and a younger girl or an older girl and a younger boy. Whatever the combination, it doesn’t matter.”

The case has prompted Republican state Sen. Thad Altman to call for changes to the age-limit law. “You would think this wouldn’t happen in this country, two teenagers in a moment of passion do something consensual and suddenly one is facing 15 years in prison,” Altman told an NBC affiliate. But others like Colton stress that the law is designed to protect younger children from older children who might be more aggressive in starting a relationship.

Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on his daily podcast, The Briefing, Tuesday that the case and its online response have deeper implications.

“What we have here is an open argument made that same-sex sexual relationships should not even be seen as merely equal with opposite sex-relationships,” he said, “but in this case, even legally privileged such that the statutory law or second-degree felony issues at stake in a heterosexual relationship of young people of the same ages would not apply to a same-sex couple.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Angela Lu
Angela Lu

Angela is a reporter for WORLD News Group who lives and works in Los Angeles. She enjoys cooking, reading, and storytelling. Follow Angela on Twitter @angela818.

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