Kaitlyn Hunt underage sex case update: Judge revokes bond
Elliott Jones, Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers
11:40 AM, Aug 20, 2013
11:38 PM, Aug 20, 2013
VERO BEACH -- Circuit Court Judge Robert Pegg revoked bond for Kaitlyn Hunt, and she'll remain jailed until a trial, that's so far unscheduled.
The judge also added a new charge to her court record -- transmitting material harmful to a minor by electronic equipment, a third-degree felony.
"The evidence is overwhelming," Pegg said in ordering Hunt held in jail without bail.
A tearful Kaitlyn Hunt, in a bright orange jail jumpsuit and shackles, periodically glanced at her father in the Indian River County courtroom, as Sheriff's Detective Jeremy Sheppard testified about new evidence in her teen sex case having to do with being in contact with the victim via electronic equipment.
Hunt turned herself in at the Indian River County Jail Monday night, on the Sheriff's Office charge of violating a court order to have no contact with the victim, a girlfriend from Sebastian River High School.
Assistant State Attorney Chris Taylor said during the hearing that within days of the court's no contact order, Hunt began contacting the victim in the case.
Hunt already faces two lewd and lascivious battery on a child charges in the case, having to do with sexual contact with the then-14-year-old classmate.
Sheppard testified about the electronic evidence he has, including nude photos taken April 3 and July 17 in Hunt's house, and thousands of text messages between Hunt and the girl, all of which prosecutors said violate the court order of no contact with the victim.
Sheppard said Hunt and the girl were physically together on July 29 at the end of a road off 37th Street.
Hunt was booked into the Indian River County Jail about 9 p.m. Monday on the new charge, said Sgt.Thomas Raulen, spokesman for Indian River County Sheriff's Office, after a representative from the bail/bond company that posted her bail brought her to the jail.
Normally bail bond companies revoke bail bond when the person is at risk for fleeing, said Ron Barnett with Barnett Bail Bonds in Vero Beach.
"This was not the case" in Hunt's case, said Barnett. He said she came to the company Monday and asked to be returned to jail.
A plea deal, which would have kept her out of jail, was withdrawn by prosecutors after it was found that she had been communicating with the victim, violating the court order.
Hunt was charged in February with the two lewd and lascivious counts, and jailed. She posted $5,000 bail then and was released, with the pretrial court order prohibiting her from contact with the victim.
Under Florida law, it is illegal for an older teen — Hunt was 18 at the time — to have sexual contact with a 14 year old, even if the relationship was consensual.
According to court records filed on Thursday, sheriff's investigators say that after Hunt's arrest on Feb. 16, she violated a court no-contact order by having repeated contact with the victim. In some instances that included their secretly meeting and having physical contact.
Hunt allegedly sent some sexually explicit photos via the Internet, according to court records.
And there was almost daily contact via an iPod Hunt is alleged to have put in the younger girl's locker before Hunt left Sebastian River High School. Investigators said there were 20,000 text messages.
Prosecutors also said Hunt's mother, Kelley Hunt Smith, had been communicating with the victim — telling her to delete the texts so no one would find out. Smith is being represented by the Menz & Battista law firm.
The younger girl's parents found out, Sullivan said, leading to an investigation and Tuesday's hearing.