Fla. Teen Hit With Felony Charges for Same-Sex Relationship
Bowing to pressure from parents, a Florida school has expelled 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt weeks before her graduation in relation to criminal charges the senior faces for having a relationship with another young female student, the Examiner reports.
Kaitlyn Hunt was charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious batter on a child between the ages of 12 and 16. Charges filed against her by the parents of her 15-year-old girlfriend.
On Friday, May 17, Hunt's mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, took to the Facebook page titled "Free Kate" and in a lengthy open letter wrote, "These people never came to us as parents, never tried to speak to us... and tell us they had a problem with the girls dating."
Hunt's mother goes on to say the girls started dating at the start of the school year and that both sets of parents were aware of their "mutual consenting relationship" for months.
She added, the parents are "out to destroy my daughter. [They] feel like my daughter 'made' their daughter gay." She goes on to say that after her daughter's arrest on February 16, the 15-year-old girl's parents petitioned the school district and court to have Hunt, a senior, expelled from Sebastian River High School.
Though the high school administration initially refused to expel Hunt and a judge ruled that she could stay in school as long as she does not have any contact with the 15-year-old girl, the parents managed to successfully petition the school board to have Hunt removed - just weeks before she was set to graduate.
According to Hunt-Smith's Facebook posting, her daughter finished the school year at an "alternative school." She will, however, be allowed to graduate from Sebastian River High School.
Florida's attorney general offered Hunt a plea deal, which includes two years of house arrest and a year of probation. The Examiner notes that the probation would stay on her adult record and could limit her career choices.
Think Progress points out that more than 68,200 people have signed a petition on Change.org that urges the Indian River County State Attorney's Office to not prosecute Hunt. The Facebook page "Free Kate," has more than 21,000 members.
Even the controversial Internet hacktivist group Anonymous has rallied in support of the teenager. The group has launched #OpJustice4Kaitlyn on May 19 and released a statement addressed to the Indian River County State Attorney's Office, the Huffington Post reports.
"Kaitlyn Hunt is a bright young girl who was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship while both she and her partner were minors," the email reads. "She has a big future ahead of her and there are people, thousands of people in fact, that have no intention of allowing you to ruin it with your rotten selective enforcement."