Wednesday, May 22, 2013

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 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.



The Happy Whisk said...

This is a shame. Big time.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of surprised to see people supporting an admitted rapist. The victim was 14 and the rapist 18 when the sexual relationship began.

Angie said...

Whisk -- totally.

Anon -- umm, no, Kate was seventeen, stil a minor herself, when the relationship began. Florida's R&J law recognizes that Kate is NOT a sexual predator by giving her the ability to petition to be taken off the sex offendor list if she's convicted of this, and in fact these two girls are one year closer in age than is required by Florida's R&J law to qualify for an exception. (Even if Kate had been 18 when the relationship started, they'd still qualify under the R&J law.)

Kate is not a rapist, her girlfriend's parents' actions were pretty clearly motivated by homophobia as much as anything else, and this case is a travesty.


Charles Gramlich said...

I saw this. I worried a bit about my son at one point. He had turned 18 but his girlfriend was almost a year younger. Fortunately, he never had any problems, and they are still together at 24 and 23.

Angie said...

Charles -- glad your son was okay. In these cases, it really does seem to come down to whether anyone wants to actively be a jerkwad. :/


Suzan Harden said...

Stupid-ass parents. Keeping the girls apart isn't going to change their daughter. She isn't going to catch straight cooties form them any more than she caught lesbian cooties from her girlfriend.

Angie said...

Suzan -- exactly. How far under your rock do you have to be not to understand that, in the 21st century? [sigh]