(WJNO West Palm Beach, FL) -- Kaitlyn Hunt's mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith, tells WJNO that her daughter wants to become a pediatric nurse, and if she was to accept the plea deal offered up by prosecutors, Kaitlyn could kiss that dream goodbye.
The 18-year old former Sebastian River High School student is charged with Lewd and Lascivious Battery on a child ages 12 to 16, due to a relationship she allegedly had with a girl who is underage.
According to the arrest affidavit, stemming from the February 16, 2013 arrest of Kaitlyn Hunt, she and her girlfriend began dating in November 2012. The Indian River County Sheriff's Office indicates that Kaitlyn's birthday is August 14, 1994, meaning that she turned 18 on that date in 2012, three months before the dating began, at least according to the alleged victim.
Kaitlyn's mother, Kelley Hunt-Smith tells us "The girls knew eachother when they were both underage. They began dating when Kate just turned 18 and the other girl was 2 months shy of her 15th bday."
The Indian River County State Attorney's Office is offering a deal for Kaitlyn to plead guilty to a lesser charge of felony child abuse. She would be spared jail time and would not get the lifelong label of "sex offender", but Hunt-Smith tells us "she wanted to work with kids and be a pediatric nurse and maybe even a pediatric surgeon one day, so those dreams would be gone."
The Florida ACLU says a Treasure Coast 18-year old's alleged sexual relationship with a younger teen is harmless.
The state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is condeming the prosecution of Kaitlyn Hunt, claiming the Sebastian resident's behavior is quote "both fairly innocuous and extremely common.
Hunt is charged with lewd and lascivious battery for dating a girl, who is now 15. Both teens attended the same high school when they met, though Hunt has since been expelled. Kaitlyn Hunt's parents turned to social media to ask for the public's help in stopping the prosecution of their daughter. They say the relationship was consentual and fear a conviction could brand Kaitlyn as a sex offender for life, though we've reported that she could petition the courts to be protected under the "Romeo and Juliet" law.
The ACLU says this is an issue that would be better dealt with through the school and parents, rather than the criminal justice system.
"Romeo and Juliet" law may be used
More on a story we told you about Monday where an 18 year old Treasure Coast girl was charged with lewd and lascivious assault against an underaged teen girl.
Kaitlyn Hunt and the other girl were classmates at Sebastian River High at the time they first met and started a relationship; Hunt was 17, the other girl was 14.
Hunt's parents say the younger girl's parents blame Kaitlyn for the homosexual relationship and waited until she was 18 years old to call police.
But Kaitlyn may benefit from a Florida law known as "Romeo and Juliet", which could spare her from being labeled as a sex offender for the rest of her life, if she is convicted.
Under the law, the victim must be at least 14 years of age, have consented to a relationship and the accused can be no more than four years older than their alleged victim.
In other states, for teenagers who are gay or lesbian and engage in consensual sex, the laws can be much stricter.
A 2004 case heard by the Kansas Supreme Court had civil libertarians and gay rights groups protesting the existence of a double standard. Matthew Limon was a mentally disabled 17-year-old when he had consensual sex with a 14-year-old boy. Under the "Romeo and Juliet" law enacted in Kansas in 1999, Limon would have been sentenced to 15 months in prison if the boy had been a girl. But because the law states that partners must be members of the opposite sex, Limon was given a 17 year sentence.
Florida's age of consent for heterosexual relationships is 18 years old while homosexual relationships do not have an expressed age of consent in our state.