Florida High School Student Expelled and Charged with Two Felonies For Consensual Relationship With Fellow Student

SELF-_540x405_244x183We have previously discussed the continued prosecution of minors for engaging in sexual conduct under state laws. These laws have a sexist record of boys prosecuted for having sex with a minor where girls were treated as the victim, even when the sex was consensual and both were minors or close in age. There is a new case out of Indian River, Florida that is equally troubling. Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, is a senior in high school and is facing felony charges for engaging in a sexual relationship with another girl at her school. Despite an outcry against prosecuting Hunt for consensual sex, the prosecutor has refused to drop the charges of two counts of lewd and lascivious battery of a child 12 to 16 years of age. Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman has insisted that he will only agree to a plea deal where she would accept one felony conviction and a two-year sentence of home confinement. Such a plea would likely put Hunt on the sex offender registry for life.


The girls started dating when Kate turned 18 and the other girl was 14. When the other girl’s parents found out about the relationship, they called police. Police then tapped a telephone conversation in which Kate told the girl that she loved her.

Hunt’s mother believes the charges are the result of homophobia and intolerance for a lesbian relationship.

Hunt was previously selected as the “Student with Most School Spirit” and had a good record at Sebastian River High School. However, after the arrest, she was kicked off the school’s basketball team by her coach, who said that the school wanted to avoid “drama.” The school board then expelled her from the high school in her graduating year.

coltonConsent is not a defense under the Florida law criminalizing sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16. Bruce Colton, state attorney for Florida’s 19th circuit, has insisted that the case will go to trial unless Hunt pleads guilty. The second-degree felony charges can result in a 15 year sentence with registration as a sex offender. We have previously seen the disabling impact of such registration on young people convicted for statutory rape in consensual relations with other students.

As discussed earlier, some states like Ohio have struck down parts of their statutory rape laws.

The concern is that there are obviously many cases involving minors as young as 14 engaging in sexual relationships. Those cases are rarely prosecuted. Moreover, regardless of whether this is a homosexual or heterosexual relationship, it involved consent between two high school students. None of this condones what Hunt did. This was a 14 year old child and, regardless of Hunt’s feelings, it was clearly improper and presumptively harmful to have a sexual relationship with a 14 year old. The question is whether this could not have been handled with a restraining order preventing further contact as opposed to treating this as a criminal matter.

What do you think?

167 thoughts on “Florida High School Student Expelled and Charged with Two Felonies For Consensual Relationship With Fellow Student”

  1. A lot of folks here think the justice process isn’t swayed by public opinion. I’m here to say it always is whether by the apathy or the passion of the public.

  2. OS:

    I suspect the witness most sympathetic to the defense will be the alleged victim. I’d letter her talk all about the relationship and the one with her parents. I’m betting that teenager will temper the facts to aid her classmate. Teenagers have a justice system all their own.

  3. Michael V.
    Regarding cross. You are right about handling her with kid gloves. However, admissions of affection and her efforts to keep the DA from prosecuting will be helpful to the defense. I was thinking more about the experts they will probably produce. The parents will not get the kid glove treatment.

    As for Anonymous, I have a suspicion that with the combined skill set of that group, they are probably already mining the darknet for anything that might turn up the heat on all involved. They have already demonstrated their ability to dig up dirt.

    Kate’s family tried from the beginning to get the assistant DA to let her plead to a misdemeanor. He wouldn’t budge.

  4. OS, I’m skeptical about any cross examination of the 14 y/o being brutal. The attorney is much more likely to treat her with kid gloves. My gut instinct says it would be a serious mistake to attack the minor because it would tend to inflame the judge and jury against Kate, possibly resulting in a more severe sentence. This isn’t like a rape case where consent is the big issue. In that type of case, with an adult victim, it may be a good strategy to attack the victim’s credibility because the case comes down to a swearing match. In this case, she’s already admitted to crime. The best she can do at trial is to be sympathetic, show everything was consensual, perhaps show that the minor initiated things, show the minor wasn’t harmed. But, all that goes to punishment, not guilt.

    if she gets a hung jury, that’s no guarantee the prosecution doesn’t retry her. She’d really need a unanimous not guilty verdict, and I don’t see that happening.

    As to anonymous, they cannot do anything to help Kate. They might make trouble for the DA, but none of that will make an iota of difference in the court room.

    Kate’s best chance was probably to get the minor’s family to plead with the DA not to prosecute and to offer a better plea bargain. But, the way they publicly villified the family, they’ve likely burned that bridge.

  5. Why doesn’t the prosecutor reduce the charge to a misdemeanor? Maybe the prosecutor believes that Kate would be getting off too lightly. Maybe the prosecutor offered similar deals to 18 y/o males in similar situations and believes he should treat homosexual conduct similar to heterosexual conduct. Maybe the prosecutor thinks a misdemeanor would be sending the wrong message to adults who would seek to seduce minors. Lots of possible reasons.

  6. There is something obscene about electing prosecutors.
    I’m not entirely sure that there is a voter demand for good sense and kindness. I think that rightousness is in the ascendant.

  7. David,
    That is exactly what the parents and their attorney requested. Drop it to a misdemeanor and she would have accepted the plea. The DA refused it. We used to have a district attorney like that who was adamant about pursuing a fatal drag race accident as a capital crime. He was voted out of office the next election. When the case did come to trial, the jury returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter, which is what it should have been all along.

    Grandstanding district attorneys get their butts handed to them by juries (and the electorate) every once in a while.

  8. There are also tactical issues here. First, if she entered a plea, she cannot appeal. If convicted, there is an appeal process that will be started immediately. If experience is any guide, the cross examination of prosecution witnesses will be brutal to say the least. There is always the chance of a hung jury…it only takes one juror to hang it up.

    Additionally, with Anonymous becoming involved, who knows what will happen next.
    http://pastebin.com/STRNnv39

  9. I think Michael has it right.

    The law will be served here.
    The 18-year-old will be picking up the tab for the failures of many others.

    Happy Birthday!
    Here is an envelope with a rhyme, some money but mostly good sense. It’s magic.

  10. Hunt rejects plea agreement. http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/24/justice/florida-teen-sex-case/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

    Seems like she’s counting on public pressure to force the DA to drop the case or give her a better deal. I’m skeptical that this is going to turn out well for her. This seems like a slam dunk case and I doubt she’s going to receive more leniency from the court than the DA offered in the plea bargain. There’s also some statements from the minor’s parents that are interesting. The affidavit shows Kate picked up the minor from her house to aid her in running away. I can’t but help think if this were an 18 y/o man and a 14 y/o girl that there wouldn’t be a peep of protest from many here who are being vocal in support of Kate or attacking the minor’s parents.

    1. Why doesn’t the prosecutor make reducing the charge to a misdemeanor part of the plea agreement? Then this whole thing would probably be over.

  11. David,
    You really need to work on your reading comprehension. Nowhere have I EVER said “all” junior high school age kids were sexually active. I said that junior high school age kids were engaging in sex. That is not the same thing.

    You also cannot have it both way. Your appeal to authority by citing CDC data, then turning around and reject research data by “some unknown psychologist.” Your “own experience” over what research has found? That does not even come close to making sense.

    Argumentum ad ignorantiam. You also commit the logical fallacy of mistaking deductive validity for truth.

    1. OS –
      If you had said “SOME junior high school students” you would have a case, but without any qualification, your statement was frightening. I do not think you meant every single student, but you certainly meant it was common place and rare for anyone not to be engaged in such. I certainly do not think 6% is very supportive of your unqualified statement.

      Yes, I take my own observations over any experts published data. I have witnessed first hand how scientific publications are fabricated. Many people lie. We have talked about sociopaths in Wall Street and the like. Well, they exist in all of society, including scientists. Ever read about Piltdown man or cold fusion or the global warming emails? These are public historical examples of scientific fraud, but my personal experiences add to these.

      One big difference between you and me is that you put a lot of stock in credentials and authority. I do not. Credentials give a little more weight that a person should have knowledge of what he is talking about, but it is no guarantee. I rely on my own data much more than any credentialed scientist. I will always seek for verification of what others say, no matter how many letters he has following his name. And the truth is that the more a person relies upon credentials or touts his authority on a subject, the less likely I am to trust that person. It is like a person saying “trust me, I know what I am talking about, I have a PhD.” When a person says “trust me,” I immediately have reason not to trust him. Experience has taught me that.

      Many times studies with data conflict with one another. How do we decide which is right? One way is to compare their data with my own. Another is to examine the methods and procedures. I accept the CDC data because it corresponds with my own observations. It appears reasonable. Also, I think the CDC is somewhat more trustworthy than a single psychologist barely known to me. So in the end, I rejected your opinion and stated my reasons.

      As for deductive validity being truth… deduction must necessarily lead to truth as long as the premises are accurate. That is the nature of deductive logic. In contrast, inductive validity is always tentative in nature. So when it comes to deduction, I always examine the premises. Falsify a premise and you falsify the deduction, but if the premises are true then the deduction must 100% be true.

  12. David, You’re an impressive man, and a great addition to this forum.

  13. I may not believe in the same god you do David…. But thank God you were not my Dad….. Mine was a$$hole enough…. But your strict authortative rule is sometime to consider…. Do you have friends…. Or do people go the other way when they see you coming….

    1. LOL! Strict, authoritative rule? How do you figure that? Most people see me as too much of a softy. I am told all the time that my problem is that I am too nice and I let too many people take advantage of me. My children love me and run to me when I get home to hug me and welcome me. My oldest lives in another city but calls me regularly to ask advice on things she deals with. I really have no idea where you get the idea that I am a strict authoritative ruler.

      By the way, there is a website at http://www.politicalcompass.org/ where you can take a test to see how authoritative / libertarian / right / left you are. I scored almost in the exact center. I am one square toward libertarian and one square toward the right. Might be fun for others here to take the test and see where it maps them out on the political compass.

  14. David,
    Asking your kids questions about stuff better addressed by a social or adolescent psychologist is laughable. And you know an anecdote does not a statistic make, nor does the experience of a single school which is a single datum, not data. Obviously Mike S. and I know more about this kind of thing than you do. I actually keep up with the literature and attend continuing professional education seminars.

    Give it a break. You grasp at straws and frantically cast about to cherry pick information that fits your worldview. Have a nice day. Now, if everyone will excuse me, I have work to do.

    1. OS –
      I take my personal actual experience over some unknown psychologist any day. Nevertheless, I did not base everything on one datum. I gave you statistics from the CDC and got feedback from several of my children. It seems very strange to me that you stand by your statement that kids in junior high school are all engaged in sex and drugs on a regular basis. With experts like you out there, the outlook for our nation looks pretty bleak.

      The truth is that I trust my children more than I trust you.

  15. Another matter. Probably the last (hopefully) trial I will need to testify in from my days with the sheriff’s office came up this week. I won’t get into details on which one or what it involves just yet but it is a true disgrace in my view that this case has gone to the length it has. It was postponed for a few more months. When it is over, I’ll let you all know what it was about. It will remind you of this case, not the sexual part, but in my view how crazy the system can be against the individual.

  16. Whatever others believe about whether or not this young woman was right or not to have it with the child, it is certainly a case of it being best just to not do it. I feel it is generally a good idea not to put one’s self in a position where they can be ripped by the gov’t.

  17. David,
    When a full third of the kids surveyed are sexually active, that is exactly in line with what I said. “Only” 47% were no longer virgins? In case you are math challenged, that means, on average, half the kids have had sex at least once.

    As far as the CDC goes, you have to keep in mind those are just the kids who are willing to admit it. Also, one of the things researchers have found just recently, many high school and jr high kids don’t think oral or anal sex “counts” as sex.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090408145354.htm

    1. OS,

      Right on point with the CDC figures and the fact that the 47% is probsbly underreporting. You hit the jackpot though withe the fact that so many only consider sex to be intercourse. Between underreporting and miscoveptions about what sex is the true figures are probably at least 60% engaging in sex. This is why I gave the stats on the relationship of teen pregnancy to lack of sex education and abstinence only. Without the honest knowledge about sexuality many teens irresponsibly conceive children at possibly the worst possible moment for their futures. Abstinence only ironically leads the way to unwanted pregnancies.

      1. Mike Spindell wrote: “Abstinence only ironically leads the way to unwanted pregnancies.”

        Abstinence only is completely stupid, but so is handing out free condoms to children. We need good sex education in school, but more importantly, we need parents to teach their children about these adult issues.

        One of my children is married and has a child. She was a virgin when she married and so was her husband. All my other children as still virgins. I think reserving sex for marriage is a good thing. You have a different opinion, and I respect that.

        If one of my children decided to experiment with sex before marriage, I would not be upset or forbid it. However, I think that would be unlikely to happen before age 18. I teach them that sex is powerful and good, but it is best and most wonderful in a committed marriage relationship. I teach them about the problems of diseases and pregnancy that others who engage in it outside of marriage have to deal with. I also teach them about the foolishness of “going out” or “going steady” with some guy. It is pretend marriage and divorce, and that ultimately they will break up, so why do it? I teach them that at their age, they do not need the added complications of a romance. They should focus on their education and be looking toward getting into college. They are too young to be involved in pretend adult romance like so many of their classmates foolishly do.

        One of my daughters decided to “go out” (the modern term for going steady) with this guy despite knowing that I thought such was not wise. It was a decision she regretted almost since the day she did it. You see, I teach them my perspective, and I predict for them what will happen if they do certain things, but I always let them make their own choice. Such establishes me as a wise man in their eyes when they decide to go against my advice because my predictions become true contrary to their expectations. They realize that dad was right all along, but they just couldn’t see it.

        I encourage them to date if they like someone, but I also especially encourage them to look for a group setting to do it. I explain that such is just a way to get to know a person better, but that they should not date anyone who they already know in advance that they would never marry. If marriage is not on their mind, then they should not date anyone. Dating is a way of interviewing a prospective candidate for marriage. I teach them to skip the “going out” stupidity and move directly into marriage engagement when they believe the time is right.

        As for the teen pregnancy stats, I think maybe you read too much into them. Especially in regards to abstinence programs, often these programs arise in areas where teen pregnancy is a problem because parents want to do all they can to fix the problem. To establish cause and effect relationships from such correlations are completely unwarranted. Any good statistician will warn you of this. From the knowledge that I have, I think the sexual activity statistics are on the high side, not low side. I think children have more pressure to lie about having sex than to lie about not having it when they have. Most kids feel like they are more mature and adult like if they are experienced in sex. In today’s hedonistic climate, I doubt you will find too many who are sexually experienced who would lie about it on a survey.

        1. “I also teach them about the foolishness of “going out” or “going steady” with some guy. It is pretend marriage and divorce, and that ultimately they will break up, so why do it?”

          DavidM,

          In today’s society, where love and sexuality have been com-modified for the sake of commercialism, youngsters are fed the wrong information about sexuality. Just as OS showed the fact that many consider oral an anal sex not to be sex per se shows this. I hope your daughter and son-in-law have a wonderful life together, including their sexuality, but as a psychotherapist I would say the odds are against it. Two virgins marrying can be a recipe for disaster. Since I married relatively late, I’ve had a lot of sexual experience and it taught me that someone who attracted me wasn’t necessarily the ideal partner for me and I assume those I was with felt the same about me.

          Peoples tastes in sexuality, technique and consideration for the other, varies significantly. Before entering into the commitment of marriage I believe it would be prudent to experiment with your potential partner and to have experienced other potential partners. You have the right to your views though and I certainly wouldn’t want to supplant them with mine. I just want to inform you that their are other, just as responsible viewpoints.

          1. Mike, I married as a virgin at the age of 24, and my wife was a virgin as well. We have been married more than 28 years now. I am not going to pretend that our sexual compatibility has been 100% in sync. Sometimes I think we are almost opposites. Rather than get into specifics, let me say that such has caused me often to consider that it might have been more prudent for me to experiment sexually before marriage. I have weighed this question carefully also in raising my children. I appreciate hearing your report of taking a different approach and having well adjusted children. It kind of bothers me that you say from a psychotherapist’s perspective the odds are against it, but I respect your knowledge and will have to weigh that in my mind accordingly.

            The issue of a successful marriage, however, has a lot more to it than just sexuality. My observations have been that those who have experimented sexually tend to have more failed marriages than those who don’t. I think it was in a link that OS provided where it expressed concern about middle school children becoming sexually experienced because the data showed they were more likely to have many sexual partners over their lifetime and would be at a higher risk for STD’s.

            If a person enters into marriage primarily for sexual reasons, then I think you are right, that maybe there should be some sexual experience prior to such a commitment. However, if sexual issues are not so important in considering a lifelong partner with which to raise a family, then I’m not sure that the pre-marriage sexual exploration is really all that necessary. I think a person could find out what he needs to know through general amorous advances like flirting, hand holding, hugs, kissing and caressing.

    2. OS –
      Please don’t weasel out of your statement. It is dishonorable. You were speaking about junior high school and now you take a statistic for high school and claim that a third is inline with the kids regularly having sex and doing drugs? Even if that 33% was for junior high, and it is not, that would not line up with your statement. As far as I’m concerned, it reflects the amount of liberals who let their kids do whatever they want versus the kids who have more responsible parents who teach their kids how powerful sex is and how our society is deceiving them when they make it look like it is no big deal and just fun recreation to try out with anybody you feel like.

      I still have one child in middle school and two in high school. I spoke to them about your statement. They had a very good laugh about it and found it totally off base. My 18 year old daughter said she took those surveys and most of the kids laugh and do not take them serious. She said they all laugh and brag about checking the box, “yeah, I had sex 20 times last week”! In her opinion, the 47% stat is on the high side for that reason.

      I am comfortable with the idea that a little less than half of high school kids have experienced sex at least once, a third of them have sex at least once every three months, but I am not at all comfortable with the idea that the kids at junior high school are regularly having sex with each other and regularly doing drugs.

      1. “it reflects the amount of liberals who let their kids do whatever they want versus the kids who have more responsible parents who teach their kids how powerful sex is and how our society is deceiving them when they make it look like it is no big deal and just fun recreation to try out with anybody you feel like.”

        David,

        I take umbrage at that statement. My wife and I are/were very responsible parents and the proof is in the pudding. Both our daughters are over 30, have excellent careers in the helping professions, one is quite religious. Neither had any problems with drugs, alcohol or the law. After doing the responsible thing which is teaching our children all about sexuality and birth control, knowing them as highly responsible people, we were not interested in the sexual choices they made. This was not out of lack of caring, but the belief that religious strictures about sexuality/sin are ridiculous vestiges of an age where women were considered chattel. Both our daughters had extensive religious educations and one studied religion at a higher level. My own religion, which is Judaism, is as stultified about sexuality as those that copied it, Christianity and Islam. This was because in those days women were the aforementioned chattels and marriage was a business deals. Because of that virginity was needed as part of the deal. Sex to them wasn’t about sin, it was about merchandizing.

        You well may believe otherwise about sexuality, but don’t make the mistake that you are a more moral/responsible person than I, since at this point you clearly don’t know me. Your use of the term “liberals” is a “tell” about you and how you view the world politically. As I pointed out in the CDC study above the States with the highest rates of teen pregnancies are highly conservative States. These States have replaced sex education with abstinence education and it clearly doesn’t work. These States in general are Fundamentalist Christian and yet it seems their “moral” teachings aren’t doing a very good job with their children’s sexuality. However, being “true believers” unwavering in their faith, they are unable to realize the reality of their failure.

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