Florida's Romeo and Juliet Law could be used in Kaitlyn Hunt case, removes sex offender status

Law applies to 4-year age gap teen relationships

SEBASTIAN, Fla. -- - A growing controversy about the legal fate of an 18-year-old Sebastian girl is stirring as more and more residents throw their support behind Kaitlyn Hunt. She is accused of "lewd and lascivious assault" against a then 14-year-old Sebastian High Schoolmate.

The accused insists the sexual relationship was consensual and is now hoping a Florida Law might spare her the possibility of being labeled a "sexual offender."

Hunt's family claims a relationship with a 14-year-old schoolmate was consensual. The alleged victim's family has said otherwise but is not talking publically.

Florida has a "Romeo and Juliet" law that could spare Kaitlyn from being labeled a sex offender for the rest of her life if she is convicted.

"The law as I see it is set up for protection of kids that are in that age bracket," said Kelly Hunt-Smith, the alleged offender's mother.

The "Romeo and Juliet" law has certain criteria that must be met in order to be applied.

The victim must be at least 14-years-old, have consented to a relationship and the accused can be no more than four years older than their alleged victim.

The latest Statistic shows 241 petitions under the "Romeo and Juliet" law have been granted. Of those granted, four have come from along the Treasure Coast.

"It shouldn't matter if it's a boy-girl, girl-girl, or boy-boy situation," said legal analyst Michelle Suskauer.

Kaitlyn's mother Kelly Hunt-Smith said she believes the "Romeo and Juliet" law should be applied if it comes to that. She insists her daughter did nothing illegal.

"You don't think about that. Your kid is in high school and they're dating mutual classmates, you don't think about it being wrong or illegal," said Hunt-Smith.

The Indian River County State Attorney's Office has suggested a plea deal.

It would allow Hunt to walk away without having to register as a sex offender. She would have to plea guilty to a lesser charge of child abuse, spend two years on house arrest and one year on probation.

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