Kaitlyn Hunt: Thousands sign petitions to get charges dropped
State Attorney says plea deal is fair
7:12 PM, May 20, 2013
10:39 AM, May 21, 2013
SEBASTIAN, Fla. -
It's a story starting to get national attention.
A Treasure Coast family is turning to social media to see if they can get charges dropped against their daughter who was involved in a relationship with an underage female schoolmate.
Steven Hunt recalls what it was like when his daughter Kaitlyn was arrested in February on two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor. He couldn't sleep that night, and was shocked to see his daughter the next day.
"When we went to the courthouse to get her out the next morning, to see her dragged in the courthouse with an orange suit on and her hands and feet shackled. She's barely five-feet tall," said Hunt.
Back in November, Kaitlyn Hunt began a physical relationship with a 14 year-old female student. Kaitlyn was already 18.
The girls were involved in some sexual activity on the grounds of Sebastian River High School.
The parents of the younger girl found out and went to the sheriff's office. Now Kaitlyn's parents are turning to social media for help.
"I'm bawling my eyes out one minute and scared to death the next, hoping that all of this is going to help," said Kaitlyn's mom Kelly Hunt Smith.
Tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition on change.org to try and get the charges dropped. A "Free Kate" Facebook site has also been set up.
But State Attorney Bruce Colton is not swayed. He said the fact that this was a same sex relationship isn't the issue.
The state has offered Kaitlyn's family a plea deal where she could avoid jail and plead to a lesser charge of child abuse. She would still be subject to two years house arrest followed by a year of probation, but would not be classified as a sex offender.
"It accounts for both the victim and her family and for the defendant and her future as well, said Colton, the State Attorney for the 19th Judicial District.
The family has until Friday to make a decision on the plea deal. They have been handing out green wristbands with the words, "Stop the Hate" on one side and "Free Kate" on the other.