Abusing Child Protection Laws

Kaitlyn Hunt is an 18-year-old high school girl who’s in love with another girl, a 15-year-old who goes to her school. They met when Kate was 17, and the younger girl’s parents disapproved of the relationship, but rather than, say, talking to Kate’s parents about it, or trying to resolve their concerns in a civilized manner, they waited for Kate to turn 18 and then called the police.

Kate was expelled from school, and arrested in February for “lewd and lascivious battery.”

According to Findlaw:

Under Florida law, engaging in sexual activity with a minor between the ages of 12 and 16 is a felony. Because the law does not make an exception for consenting minors, Hunt could potentially face up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted, and up to $10,000 in fines.

Florida does have a Romeo-and-Juliet law. These are generally intended to provide some rational exceptions for two young people who are close in age. Unfortunately, the Florida law would only let Kate petition to have her name taken off the sex offender registry after she’s convicted; it would do nothing to save her from the rest of the legal meatgrinder, and she could still spend those 10 years in prison for the heinous crime of having a girlfriend who goes to her school.

Oh, and if one might be thinking of giving the younger girl’s parents the benefit of the doubt, and assuming that it’s the relationship with an “adult” that they’re objecting to, they’ve also accused Kate of turning their daughter gay. So… yeah. This is pure, hateful homophobia at work here.

Please sign the petition on Change.org asking to have Kate freed. This is a ridiculous abuse of the laws intended to protect children from actual predators, and of the sex offender registry — unfortunately one of many. We need to make it clear to parents who disapprove of their kid’s boyfriend or girlfriend that criminalizing teenagers who fall in love with other teenagers won’t be allowed to stand.


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Angela Benedetti lives in Seattle with her husband and a few thousand books. She loves romance for the happy endings, for the affirmation that everyone who's willing to fight for love deserves to get it and be happy with someone. She's best known for her Sentinel series of novels, the most recent of which is Captive Magic.