Kaitlyn Hunt on Friday rejected a plea
deal, deciding to face felony charges in connection with an alleged
underage relationship with a fellow female student.
Hunt began dating the student 3 years
younger than herself when she was 17. After she turned 18 in
February, her girlfriend's parents went to the authorities, who
arrested the teen and charged her with the felony of “sexual
battery on a person 12-16 years old.” After officials at Sebastian
River High School refused to expel Hunt, the parents appealed to the
school board and had her expelled.
She had until Friday to accept a plea
deal that would allow her to avoid registering as a sex offender if
she pleads guilty to a charge of child abuse.
Julia Graves, Hunt's attorney, attempted
to lessen the charges. On Thursday, she presented a case to
prosecutors involving an 18-year-old male who allegedly had sex with
a 15-year-old female. His final charge was lessened to a misdemeanor
battery case and he was sentenced to one year probation.
On Friday, Graves released a statement
on behalf of Hunt.
“This is a situation of two teenagers
who happen to be of the same sex involved in a relationship. If this
case involved a boy and a girl, there would be no media attention to
this case. If this incident occurred 108 days earlier when she was
17, we wouldn't even be here.”
In previous statements, prosecutors
have said that whether the girlfriend gave consent to the
relationship was irrelevant because the age of consent in Florida is
If found guilty, Hunt faces up to 30
years in prison, according to NBC affiliate WPTV.