Via Steve Rothaus:
More than 85,000 supporters since Friday have signed an Internet petition demanding felony sex charges be dropped against an 18-year-old lesbian who dated a 14-year-old high-school basketball teammate.
Kaitlyn Hunt of Indian River County is charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 to 16 years old. If convicted, she would be sentenced from probation to 15 years in prison and registered as a sex offender.
Hunt turned 18 on Aug. 14, 2012. She and a 14-year-old classmate, known as C.S., began dating in November. They first had consensual sex just before Christmas in a bathroom at Sebastian River High School. The relationship continued through February, according to an arrest affidavit.
Indian River sheriff’s deputies showed up at Hunt’s home on Feb. 16, according to her mother.
“My husband answered the door and they asked for my daughter. She wasn’t home at the time,” Kelley Hunt Smith told The Miami Herald on Monday. “They refused to tell my husband anything. They said it was no big deal, it was just something that happened in school.”
Smith said that when her daughter arrived home, deputies handcuffed and arrested her.
“I flipped out, my husband flipped out, my other daughter was crying hysterically,” she said. “I can’t wrap my head around how they could prosecute an 18-year-old for a felony that carries 15 years in prison. She’s scared to death and trusting her parents. We’ve done everything we can to protect her. We’re doing our best.”
At the sheriff’s office, deputies read Hunt her Miranda rights and she told them about her relationship with C.S. “Your affiant asked Kaitlyn if she knew it was wrong to have sex with C.S. due to C.S. being 14 years old. Kaitlyn stated that she did not think about it because C.S. acted older,” detective Jeremy Shepherd wrote in his report.[…]
In Florida, the legal age of sexual consent is 18. In 2007, the state adopted a “Romeo and Juliet” law that would keep 18 year olds from being registered as sex offenders if they had consensual sex with classmates age 15 or older.
Hunt doesn’t qualify because her girlfriend was 14 at the time they had sex, Indian River State Attorney Bruce Colton said Monday.
C.S. turned 15 in April, according to Hunt’s mother.
Prosecutors deny that being a same-sex couple had anything to do with it. And chickens need chapstick.