In a modern day Romeo and Juliet family feud, a family has been torn apart by the homophobia of their daughter’s girlfriends parents who pressed “lewd and lascivious battery” felony charges on her after finding out about their gay relationship. Earlier this school year, Florida’s Sebastian River High School senior Kaitlyn Hunt, who at the time was 17, began a relationship with her classmate, a 15-year old girl.
On February 16, Police arrived at the family’s home and put her daughter in handcuffs, charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12–16 years of age, according to Examiner.
“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,” Kaitlyn Hunt’s mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, wrote in a statement posted to Facebook. “…They were out to destroy my daughter. [They] feel like my daughter ‘made’ their daughter gay.”
According to the HuffPost:
According to Hunt-Smith’s statement, Kaitlyn attended an “alternative school” for the remainder of her senior year, but will be allowed to attend senior events and graduate from Sebastian River High School. The Huffington Post reached out to Sebastian River High School administration for comment, but requests were not returned as of press time.
According to Examiner, the state attorney’s office has offered Kaitlyn Hunt a plea deal which includes two years of house arrest and a year of probation, which would stay on her adult record and limit her career choices.
Kaitlyn’s Mother also wrote the following statement on a Change.org petition, which has over 39,000 signatures, urging Florida State Attorney Brian Workman to “Stop the prosecution of an 18 year old girl in a same-sex relationship.” Her statement reads:
Kailtyn’s girlfriend’s parents are pressing charges because they are against the same-sex relationship, even though their daughter has stated that this is a consensual relationship. The two girls began dating while Kaitlyn was 17 but her girlfriend’s parents blamed Kailtyn for their daughter’s homosexuality. They waited until after Kaitlyn turned 18 and went to the police to have charges brought against her.
Kaitlyn was a highly respected student at Florida’s Sebastian River High School with good grades and participation in cheerleading, basketball and chorus. She was even voted “most school spirit.” Now she’s been expelled from school and is facing serious felonies – all because she is in love. If convicted, she could end up in jail or live under house arrest, will have to register as a sex offender, and live her life as a convicted felon.
Our family will do everything we can to stop these people from ruining our daughter’s promising life. This is unjust and unfair – and we need your help to stop it.
Kaitlyn’s Mother also created a Facebook page where she wrote the following heart-felt plea to free her daughter from this nightmare:
This girl also played varsity sports, was in the IB program, so she was in classes with upperclassman. There was an age difference between my daughter and the other girl, of 3 years, my daughter was older, however you would have thought it was the opposite by just looking at the girls. My daughter is tiny, looks very young, and the other girl looks much older and is much taller, either way there was a 3 year age gap. They were both students in the same high school, it was a mutual consenting relationship on both parts. This was unusual for Kate, she has always dated boys, but being the kind of mother I am, I didn’t want to make it a big deal. I talked to her about it, and figured it was just a social thing, times have changed and a lot of kids are experimenting, so I didn’t make much of it. This girl came to my home, hang out with our family before sporting events at the school, etc. The girls would hang out together at after school activities, I was there, I saw the other girls father there several times, he saw them together as well, so I assumed her family was aware of it and didn’t have any issues either. On Saturday February 16th our families world was shattered and our daughters nightmare begun.
The police came to our home and arrested my daughter, put her in hand cuffs and we had no idea why. They refused to tell us anything at first because she had turned 18. Kate was ripped out of our arms, terrified, crying hysterically. My younger daughter was there at the time, my husband and myself, we were mortified. They finally told us she was being arrested on “probable cause”. I asked them probable cause of what, they said sexual battery on a person 12-16 years old. My heart dropped, I knew then that it had to have been her girlfriend’s parents. These people never came to us as parents, never tried to speak to us, didn’t try to get the school involved to speak to us and tell us they had a problem with the girls dating, not one single word. Instead, they set out their vengeance and had my child arrested on FELONY charges. The nightmare continued. Kate was bailed out and sat in front of a Judge. He told her she could continue going to school, but was to have no contact with her girlfriend. I went to the school and spoke to them, let them know what was going on, I wanted to make sure there was no issues or problems. It is Kate’s senior year, she only had a few months until graduation and we wanted her to finish.
The school was very supportive, they all know and loved Kate. They told us that the other girls parents had already come in and wanted Kate to be expelled, they told them no, they wouldn’t do that. The parents didn’t like that, so that petitioned the court and asked the judge to remove Kate from school, even though the Judge already ruled Kate could continue school. We sat in front of the Judge again, and the judge ruled yet again that Kate could continue going to school, he didn’t feel like Kate was any threat at all. Those parents wouldn’t give up. They were out to destroy my daughter, they feel like my daughter “made” their daughter gay. They are bigoted, religious zeolites that see being gay as a sin and wrong, and they blame my daughter. Of course I see it 100% different. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality, all teens do it in one form or another. They are teens, its healthy and normal. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares, she is still their daughter. But, the fight continued. the parents fought dirty, we pushed back and tried everything we could. I went to the school board with not one but two orders from Indian River County Judges saying Kate could continue going to school, but the school board sided with the parents, and expelled my daughter. Kate was forced to go to the alternative school. The school board made one concession and allowed Kate to attend her senior events like grad bash, and senior fun day at the school and she will be able to walk at her graduation at the high school and actually graduate from SRHS. But her senior year was ruined, she was taken away from her normal life, her friends and her school activities because of those parents. It was still blantenlty wrong, and discriminative. Those parents have forced the State Attorneys office to go thru with felony charges and are trying to ruin my daughters life. This is insane. This should have never been a legal matter, it is a family matter.
They are trying to send an innocent young girl to prison because they are full of hate and bigotry. These girls are teenagers in high school, who had ONE mutual consenting sexual experience. My daughter isn’t a criminal, she isn’t a predator. The parents daughter has said from day one, she cares about my daughter, she never wanted her parents to do this, she was 100% consenting and it was by her own choice that she was with my daughter. She doesn’t want Kate to be punished at all, and feels like they did nothing wrong. Unfortunately by the letter of the law, this girl has NO voice. Her parents can play the “victims” and ruin my daughters life. We have written letters through our attorneys trying to appeal to these people as parents, talk through it and come to some agreement or understanding but the parents refuse. These people’s delusional stand, their hate and bigotry is tearing our daughter apart. Kate is having night terrors, she is in depression, its horrible to watch. Kate was the happiest child, always smiling, always happy and uplifting and now she has to push through the tears to get through every day. I need the communities help. I need people to stand and fight with me for my daughters life. Should the girls have made better choices, YES. I agree, but is this criminal, no. Does my daughter deserve to lose her life for 15 years, or 3 years, or to have no life, because of one choice she made in high school, absolutely not!!
The state attorney, Brian Workman needs to use taxpayers money to prosecute REAL criminals, not a high school student who has never been in trouble a day in her young life, all because she had a mutual consenting relationship with someone who has bigoted parents. I had bracelets made that say STOP THE HATE, FREE KATE. I want everyone in Indian River county to wear one in support of my daughter. I need people to come forward and show the state that this is totally ridiculous and wrong. I will fight till im dead for my children. Kate is such a beautiful person this is just so incredible wrong. This is a mothers nightmare. No one could possibly fully understand how painful this is, we feel powerless. The letter of the law, vs. reality in this situation is horrifying. I cant lose my child, I just cant. We as a community cant allow this to happen. We have until next Friday to either agree with an outrageous plea offer, or start trial. The state offered a plea of two years house arrest and one year probation. Kate wont be able to get a job, start her life, ever leave the house for an entire two years, then another year on probation. That is absolutely ludicrous. We need justice in this situation, not to feed into these parents hates and insanity. Will you help support Kate? Will you write a letter to the state attorney, will you come sit in the court room and show your support, will you wear Kate’s bracelet in support of her? Will you pray, will you speak your mind to these other parents in regards to their actions? Will you help our family?
Florida’s WPTV News Reports:
Update: May 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm EST
In an interview with the Examiner, Kaitlyn Hunt’s unlce, Andrew Gay, cleared up some rumors:
Kaitlyn was a senior and her girlfriend was a freshman. Gay says the family isn’t claiming the age difference isn’t significant; however, the younger student was “enrolled in courses with upper classmen, and played on the same Varsity basketball team as Kate. They were peers in the same social circle with the same friends. I’m not sure age ever entered into either of their minds.”
Finally, it has incorrectly been reported that Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested on her just after her 18th birthday. She actually turned 18 around the same time they began dating and the girl’s parents didn’t press charges until several months later.
The Hunt family was reportedly devastated by the Indian River County Sherriff Department’s decision to release Hunt’s arrest affidavit, especially since it included Kate’s home address. The report gave very personal details about the sexual encounters between the two girls.
Kaitlyn’s uncle, Andrew Gay, said:
Kelly Osbourne and Evan Rachel Wood have both posted their support of Kaitlyn Hunt on Twitter. The group Anonymous has stepped in to fight in Kate’s honor, declaring war on the Indian River County State Attorney’s office. Author Anne Rice also showed support for Kate by posting a link to the original article about the “Free Kate” movement on Facebook.
An anonymous reader left the following comment and I thought It was worthy of featuring: