’C.S.’ to Kaitlyn: ’I Love You... A Lot!’
UPDATE: After going to press Kaitlyn Hunt's attorney released a response to everything that's happened in the last week. Read the full statement at the bottom of this story.
Kaitlyn Hunt, 19, appeared in court on Tuesday in an orange jumpsuit, red-eyed, tearful, hand-cuffed and in shackles, while the prosecution laid out their case to have her bail revoked. This was only days after the prosecution offered her a new plea deal that did not include any jail time and would allow her to avoid the sexual offender registry.
But after details emerged that Hunt and the younger girl, C.S., have still been in contact, despite a no contact order from the court, the prosecution hauled Hunt back into court and revoked their plea deal, while adding a third felony to the list of charges that Hunt is facing. She's already been charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious behavior on a 12-16 year old. The new charge is transmission of harmful materials to a minor, which stems from more than 20,000 text messages prosecutors found on an iPod that Hunt allegedly gave C.S. in March in order for them to continue to communicate. Some of the texts include nude photos of Hunt and at least one graphic video.
In one such text message C.S. proclaimed her love for Kaitlyn, saying "I love you, Kailtlyn -- a lot."
During the hearing the detective admitted some of the conservations were initiated by C.S. and most of most of them were innocent everyday chitchat. However, during some of them Hunt appeared to be coaching C.S. on what to say and how to respond to detectives.
In another message C.S. told Hunt she should calm down and go smoke some pot.
"Chill out. I'm fucking with you babe. You need to smoke a black and mild or something," C.S. said. Black and milds are cigars commonly used to smoke pot with.
Hunt is also being accused of secretly meeting with C.S., with one meeting as recently as a couple of weeks ago. During at least one of those meetings sexual activity may have also occurred.
During the hearing the detective on the stand admitted C.S. hasn't always been truthful with him, but each time she lied, she did so to protect Hunt. Hunt's attorney, Julia Graves, asked the detective if C.S. had ever expressed what she wanted to happen to Hunt. The prosecution objected to the question and it was ruled out of order.
Hunt was initially accused of having sexual relations with her then freshman girlfriend. Both girls attended the same high school and were teammates on the basketball team. At the time, Hunt was 18 and C.S., 14. Since then Hunt has turned 19 and C.S., 15.
Hunt's father Steven Hunt and her attorney have responded to these new allegations.
"This has been an extremely difficult day. But the most difficult and painful part of the day was coming to grips with how these allegations have affected each and every one of you. For many of you this day may have questioned your belief in this cause, or have given you pause on whether to continue to support us," Steven wrote on the "Free Kate" Facebook group. "We can only ask that you give us a little more time to respond to your questions and the allegations made by the State. Because of the nature of these allegations, our lawyers have requested that we not speak out at this time. They have not had a chance to review the materials and making any kind of statement on what is actually contained in them is premature."
While Graves noted: "As with any high profile case there is great public interest in the various details of the investigation. However, it is customary as the process unfolds that allegations will be made, but they must be proven and substantiated in a court of law. We continue to work on Ms. Hunt's defense today, the same as we did yesterday and will continue tomorrow."
As of press time Hunt's parents have yet to make any statements on their daughter having to go to jail until the trial.
According Kaitlyn's mother Kelley Hunt Smith another attorney is interested in helping the Hunt family.
"This afternoon we learned that Attorney William A. Korman, an attorney who has been nationally recognized for his work defending individuals accused of sexual misconduct, has joined Kate's formidable legal team," Kelley posted in the "Free Kate" Facebook group. "Mr. Korman, who is based in Boston, Massachusetts, was so outraged by the spurious attacks against Kate, that he agreed to become involved in this case based on his moral outrage at the criminalization of what would be considerd typical adolescent behavior and actions. We look forward to Attorney Korman assisting us in this matter."
The latest plea deal included two counts of misdemeanor battery and one count of felony interference with child custody, which would have required her to serve three years probation and complete 150 hours of community service. The first¬ plea deal that expired in May was felony child abuse, requiring two years of community control, plus one more year of probation.
Many community leaders deemed the original charges and subsequent plea deal too harsh.
Kaitlyn's mother Kelley was not happy with the new deal, ranting against it on Facebook.
"It is still a FELONY plea. They are adding a charge, Kate was charged with 2 Lewd and Lascivious batteries that the state is now saying they will drop to misdemeanor batteries, which is GREAT, however then they want to ADD a FELONY interfering with child custody charge? NO WAY!! Kate didnt interfere with custody that is ludicrous and that particular charge can NOT be expunged per Florida state statue.
"IF the parents and state are really looking to do the right thing, then pleading Kate to a misdemeanor would be no problem, they will still have a no contact in place and EVERYONE can move on and try to heal from this. But i feel like the real motives here are being shown, they want to ruin Kate's life, its NOT about protecting their daughter, its about punishing and hurting Kate, and that is wrong."
Hunt's case has received international attention with a slew of local LGBT community leaders weighing in on the matter. Hunt's family accused the younger girl's family and the prosecution of coming after them because it was a lesbian relationship. The girl's family, however, said they were simply concerned parents while the prosecution said they've prosecuted similar heterosexual cases in the past.
In some states though, this wouldn't even be a crime. For instance, if this case had taken place in New Jersey, things would have turned out much differently. In Florida the age of consent is usually 18, but the state does allow for some age exemptions. Sixteen and 17-year-olds are allowed to have sex with persons under the age of 24, which means a 23-year-old could legally have sex with a 16 year old, a 7 year age difference, but a 16-year-old cannot have sex with a 15-year-old under any circumstance.
New Jersey's age of consent is more fluid. Thirteen through 15-year-olds are allowed to have sex with someone who is not more than 4 years older. In Kaitlyn's case, the girls are 3 years and 7 months apart, which would have made the sexual acts legal.
STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF KAITLYN HUNT:
The actions in filing a detailed Notice of Violation of Pretrial Conditions such as the one filed in this case is almost a crime in and of itself. Of course this is my opinion as her counsel and as a parent.
I fully understand what the law is. I do not know who is managing the case at this point as I receive a plea offer from Mr. Workman on Friday August 9th after 3:00 pm with no deadline to accept and a request to respond in writing for post conviction purposes one way or another.
We quietly kept this to ourselves and were in the process of discussing the plea that takes time to answer all questions and fully understand the consequences. The last thing any attorney wants is a client entering a plea quickly without being fully informed. We have had motions scheduled on August 14th since June and we attended to take care of the closure of the courtroom motion by the State and a few deposition and address issues regarding witnesses. There was nothing out of the ordinary, other than it was made known a copy of the plea offer had been given to the media. Obviously until a case is settled and pled to it is imperative to still continue to prepare as though you are going to trial.
The next morning while I was in a motion hearing with another judge and client, the Notice of Violation of Pretrial Conditions is filed. The State did not get that much information that day as I received a copy to my office at 9:43 am. I only had seen it ten minutes before it was published on TCPalm. Prosecutors do have ethical obligations.
I practice Family Law as well as Criminal. One important aspect to always remember and stress to the client is "this is a public record". What you file in a motion or petition is out there for the world to view or your children to look at later. Always be mindful of "airing your dirty laundry in public".
I have made every effort to keep the alleged victim out of the public eye. I have not taken her depositions and do not plan to until the very last. While I feel what has happened in the past few months is an abomination to the alleged victim, I advocate for Kaitlyn. In advocating for her, that sometimes calls for taking measures that are not pleasant in asking questions.
If this matter had been considered properly in the beginning for what is truly is, we would not be where we are today -- and that is with two devastated lives and two devastated families.
It looks as though we have an alleged victim who doesn't agree with how things are being handled by the State, her parents or their attorney. She has felt compelled to do what she thought was the only thing to save Kaitlyn from the State and her parents and that was to reach out and let Kaitlyn know this was not her idea or what she wants. I am totally cognizant that she is a minor.
For Chris Taylor to file a notice with those kinds of details in it, I just cannot begin to fathom why that was necessary. The same Notice with general language could have been accomplished and reached the same objective, to revoke her bond. What happened to a statement like "numerous texts and inappropriate language" without details? With today being the first day of school in Indian River County, I can only imagine the chatter at the school. Even if not said directly to the alleged victim, it is going to be discussed behind her back. You can't stop it.
Nonetheless it comes down to we still have a situation of two teenagers who were in school together and involved in a consensual relationship. Yes one that under the current law is a crime, but still consensual. It was brought to an abrupt end and the older "adult" teen faces up to thirty years in prison. The younger teen cannot comprehend the seriousness of the matter because it was something she consented to. Her opinion is ignored by the State, interrogated by the Sheriff's Department, taken to a church that labels being gay a sin, has the Bible thrown at her, all of her things in her room boxed up and taken from her, is apparently hit by her parents, and clearly yelled at for lying by her father in the presence of Detective Shepherd at the school in a subsequent interview. How could she not be confused, scared and feel as though this is all her fault and no one is listening? She already tried to speak to Kaitlyn's mother Kelley who shut her down. So she turns to the only person who could possible understand in her eyes and a person she clearly does not want to see hurt and that is Kaitlyn. She wants to try to save her and in doing so she just causes the walls to continue to tumble down.
And here we are. Now there are new charges that set us all back even further. The defense of Kaitlyn Hunt will continue until the matter is either resolved or determined in a court of law, not public opinion.