Community rallies support for Kaitlyn Hunt, facing felony charges for high school relationship
7:57 PM, May 20, 2013
7:31 PM, May 21, 2013
SEBASTIAN, Fla. - Many people continued to show support Monday for an 18-year-old Sebastian girl facing felony charges for her relationship with her 14-year-old girlfriend.
Kaitlyn Hunt has been removed from Sebastian River High School, after being arrested in February.
Police say Hunt had a sexual relationship with her 14-year-old girlfriend. They say the girls engaged in sexual activity in a bathroom at the school.
Supporters of Hunt say the relationship was consensual and she did not realize she did anything wrong. Their relationship started when both were minors.
Police say in this case, a 4 year age gap is a serious difference. They say a 14-year-old is not old enough to give consent. The young girl's parents filed charges against Hunt.
The Indian River County Sheriff spoke Monday about the charges, with dozens outside the station showing their opposition to the charges, wearing wristbands and holding signs supporting Hunt.
"It should have been settled at a lower level instead of getting as big as it did," said Kristy Tankersley, a softball coach at Sebastian River High School.
Tankersley says Hunt is facing felony charges for a relationship that other students also have. "Theres been freshman girls on my team talking about dating senior baseball players. It shouldn't be that big of a deal."
Parents also rallied for Hunt. Misty Wise said she wouldn't want her son to be in trouble for being with someone younger at his school.
"They can play on the same basketball team together. They should be able to date," said Wise.
Students say it's the risk schools take when putting minors and adults in the same classes. "I feel if 18 year olds are allowed in the school system with minors they should be allowed to at least end it before prosecution gets involved," said former Sebastian River High School student Michelle Pollack.
Tankersley hopes Hunt will avoid being charged with a felony, and forced to register as a sex offender.
"She still has a lot of life left. And if this goes through she pretty much has a change of life. Not for the better," said Tankersley.