Kaitlyn Hunt’s Case May Already Be Bringing Change for Laws About Gay Teen Relationships

Kaitlyn Hunt, the Florida teen facing criminal charges based on her relationship with another teen girl in her high school, has been making headlines in both gay and mainstream media for the past few weeks. Her case brings up questions about consent, teens’ agency, and how we treat same-sex relationships different than opposite-sex ones. Most recently, her case is motivating Florida state senator Thad Altman to revisit Florida’s laws regarding teens’ consensual sexual relationships; he argues that they should “provide more forgiveness” for teens like Hunt. It’s a response to the fact that Hunt’s case is highlighting America’s complicated feelings about young people in same-sex relationships, but also the ways in which our laws about teen relationships in general may be problematic, especially for populations whose sexuality is already policed.

The story of Hunt’s (now age 18) relationship with another high school student (then 14, now 15) pushes a lot of cultural buttons — as conservative blog American Thinker observes, the other girl in this relationship had her first sexual experience with Hunt, which brings up issues of “purity” important to many social conservatives. Hunt has refused a plea deal which would have involved labeling her as a sex offender and putting her under house arrest for two years, and will instead go to court to defend herself. If convicted, she would face a maximum sentence of 15 years.

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The current state of Florida law around teen relationships is a key part of why this case is controversial. The girl that Hunt had a relationship with was a minor, which is why Hunt is being charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a 12-16 year old child. But Florida also has a “Romeo and Juliet” law which mean that older people who have sexual contact with minors may, in some situations, be exempt from being labeled sex offenders or from the charge of statutory rape. Romeo and Juliet laws change state-to-state, and in some states (like Kansas) they’re written such that same-sex couples are excluded and can’t benefit from them. Florida’s Romeo and Juliet law isn’t one that specifically requires its parties be opposite-sex. To be considered under the purview of this law, the minor must be at least 14 years old, the older party can be no more than four years older than the minor, and most importantly, the minor must have consented to the relationship. Hunt’s family has stated that the relationship was mutually consensual, but there’s no way to know without a statement from the girl herself.

If there was consent given, however, then it would seem that this relationship does fall under the purview of Florida’s Romeo and Juliet laws, and that Hunt should at least be able to fight being registered as a sex offender. The fact that Hunt has faced such harsh consequences, including being kicked off the basketball team and expelled, has made many question whether this case would have been treated differently if Hunt were male. Given that there are plenty of cases in which rape by male students is reported and even proven with evidence and the school system is reluctant to impart any consequences at all, it’s not unreasonable. As Emily Bazelon writes at Slate, harsh consequences for boys having heterosexual sex with minors isn’t unprecedented; she points out Genarlow Wilson and Marcus Dwayne Dixon, convicted of child molestation and statutory rape respectively. In Wilson’s case, the sex was (apparently) consensual, but there was an age difference of two years. In Dixon’s case, the sex wasn’t consensual; but confusingly, the jury found him not guilty of rape but instead guilty of statutory rape, which essentially means that they cared more about the girl’s age than about the fact that she didn’t give consent. Certainly, laws about teenage relationships that focus more on conservative ideas about teenage girls’ purity than on actual consent can hurt boys, too. But Bazelon also points out that Wilson and Dixon are both black. Black men and boys, along with gay people of all ages, are often stigmatized as sexual predators by mainstream culture and media; it’s no coincidence that these are the groups finding less “forgiveness” within the legal system for teenage relationships. This isn’t a case about whether teenage sexual relationships are okay or not; it’s about whose teenage sexual relationships we find okay or not, and why.

The lawyers prosecuting Hunt say that sexual orientation plays no part in the case, and that “It doesn’t matter if it’s two girls or two boys, or an older boy and a younger girl or an older girl and a younger boy. Whatever the combination, it doesn’t matter.” The arguments advanced in court may shed some light on whether that’s true. Same-sex relationships are already dangerous for teenagers (and adults, for that matter); if Hunt’s case goes on to prove that, even if totally consensual, same-sex high school relationships can have legal repercussions, it will be a serious blow to young people all over the country. We don’t yet know whether Senator Altman’s call for a closer look at these laws will have an effect, but at least this is starting what’s clearly a necessary conversation about how we think about same-sex relationships for teenagers.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books and news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

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57 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    I was curious as to whether or not Romeo and Juliet laws applied here. Thanks Rachel! It seems like if the relationship was consensual Kaitlyn should be okay here (and obviously we all hope the relationship was consensual).

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      The Romeo and Juliet statute in Florida is just to get people off the registry and it’s never used because it conflicts with the Adam Walsh Act, what this will do in amend F.S. concerning sex crimes.

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    I’ve actually been really, really annoyed at how the gay community has handled this case. In my senior year of high school, there were THREE different stat rape cases in the junior and senior classes. So while I think what she’s being charged with has to do with the wording of the stat rape laws, and that should lead to a change in wording of the law, and while I’m sure a bit of why the other girl’s parents pushed for charges against Hunt had to do with homophobia, this happens ALL. THE. TIME. to teenage boys. It’s a serious issue. I don’t know how to protect teenage agency while also protecting actual rape victims, though.
    I remember being careful about relationships at seventeen and eighteen because I knew stat rape was a thing. I don’t know; I kind of think Hunt was a little dumb about the whole situation, and there are consequences for that.
    I don’t see this as a case of homophobia, though, like the gay community keeps saying. Not at all.

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      You are wrong. This case is definitely motivated by homophobia. Can you bring evidence to the table that suggests otherwise? If you go off to read about this issue and research it a bit more you will know that the parents, against their daughter’s wishes pushed the charges onto Hunt.
      The younger girl has stated repeatedly that it was consensual and that Hunt had done nothing to harm her but her words cannot be taken into consideration due to laws regarding such testimony.

      For example, if Hunt had been harming the younger girl why did the parents wait two years for Hunt to become 18 in order to land her with the most severe of charges? That obviously speaks of a more insidious motive

      You are wrong and you are victim blaming. She was a “little dumb about the whole situation”? I think that’s better suited to describe the parents.

      • Thumb up 2

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        What you’re saying about the parents has no bearing about whether or not it was homophobia. Again, stat rape is a HUGE issue. That same narrative occurs all across the nation so regularly, although it’s almost exclusively older male/younger female situations.
        By the way, I’m entitled to my (educated) opinion.
        And yes, I think she was a little dumb about it. One needs to be responsible in consensual relationships. She slept with a fourteen year old. Not the best idea. I tell my sixteen year old brother the same thing. *I* kept it in mind at that age, too.

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          I have to agree with you Sela. We have made this situation out to be a case of institutional homophobia. The law is not homophobic. I grew up in Florida and saw a few straight high school friends break things off or date in secret after one or the other turned 18 and parents chose to enact the law. If a guy turns 18 and his consensual girlfriend of a year won’t be 17 for two more months, then any physical contact they have in those two months is illegal and if he is charged he has to pay full consequence. If the parents don’t like the other kid’s haircut, clique, or skin color they can and have used the law unjustly.

          The law is there to protect kids. There is no work-around yet to protect kids from molesters and manipulators while also protecting consensual and healthy relationships amongst teenagers. Lawmakers in these situations have to rely on the parents and schools to make use of the law in the spirit of its intent. The law nor its enforcement by officials are not the source of the homophobia here. The parents of Kaitlyn’s girlfriend are the source of homophobia.

          We should not be petitioning for the girls to be exempt from the law based on their sexual preferences… that is NOT asking for equality. We should be petitioning for the parents to drop charges. The law is not homophobic. The parents are.

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          firstly; I just don’t think “dumbness” should be a criminal offense-if that’s all you think she did wrong. Rather a lot of people, after all, are pretty dumb; should they all be in jail? And think about how dumb, in terms of risk assessment, the gay people in the past were who had same-sex sex despite the fact that it was illegal, could cost them their jobs, etc….
          secondly; I think fourteen year olds are capable of knowing the difference between when they are being sexually assaulted, and when they are having consenting sex. We don’t need statutory rape laws to protect teenagers from rape, because the regular rape laws apply to them too. I know that they rarely result in justice for people who experience sexual assault, but still; if this relationship was non-consenting, then it was sexual assault. Maybe I’m wrong about how much a young teen can be manipulated into consenting to something they don’t fully understand; I am open to hearing alternative takes on this. My perspective is that of someone who was sexually abused at 7, way before I had the conceptual tools to even know what was happening to me; and so I probably have some outsize emotions around the idea of a fourteen year old having her ability to consent legally eradicated, which is how I see this.
          Thirdly; another aspect of this case that really upsets me is how damaging it must be to the fourteen year old to have her parents bring the police into a consenting relationship (if it was consenting); that can only make her feel like there’s something wrong with being sexual, especially with another girl, that her feelings don’t matter to her parents, that she’s powerless to stop the life of a girl she cares about being ruined; if the parents wanted to protect their daughter from something she wanted to do but that they were sure wasn’t good for her, if they felt the older girl’s greater life-experience meant that she was able to manipulate their daughter, they needed to PARENT her, with love, respect, and communication. Even if that didn’t immediately result in the relationship ending, it would have helped their daughter eventually come through it in a less traumatizing way.

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          Actually, stat rape charges DO help actual rape victims because in cases where lack of consent is hard to prove (because justice sucks), stat rape at least gets the perpetrator charged with SOMETHING and listed as a sex offender. It’s all too common.

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          I guess I don’t think the fact that this law might occasionally achieve some kind of punishment for someone who’s committed sexual assault makes it worth the unjust punishment of people who have not.

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        A- what you wrote makes no sense. If the parents waited TWO years to press charges than the younger girl was 12 or 13 when the relationship started. That would take it outside of the Romeo and Juliet guidelines and makes it clearly a case of molestation.

        • Thumb up 8

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          They didn’t wait two years because the relationship started when Kaitlyn was 17; however, some news reports have made it clear that they deliberately waited for her to turn 18 to slap a criminal charge on her nonetheless, which speaks to – as A says – a more insidious motive. A big part of the problem here is that different news sources are taking different angles so it’s hard to discern the facts, much less start thinking about what all that means.

          It’s about homophobia AND problematic policing of teenage sexuality. I’d personally agree that the consent laws are the bigger issue here, but I don’t think it’s fair to call Kaitlyn “dumb” for it – they went to the same school & participated in the same after-school activities; they weren’t exactly worlds apart. It’s not actually a given that all teenagers know about stat rape laws. I don’t think you could even reasonably say that most do. Inadequate sex ed is yet another problem thrown into the mix here.

          And finally, even if we were to agree that there should be consequences for it, I don’t think either being labelled a sex offender for life or 15 years’ jail time is anywhere near reasonable.

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          Actually, Kaitlyn was 18 when the relationship started, she turned 18 in August, and met the girl when school started, their “relationship” started Nov/Dec, and the TRUE victim was 14. Kaitlyn’s parents tried hard to obscure that fact to gain sympathy and make it look like the TRUE victim’s parents waited until the day after she turned 18 which is simply not true. And if you look up the arrest affidavit, you will see that is true. If you go on their “freekate” group on Facebook, you’ll see that’s true. I read an article just yesterday where Kaitlyn’s uncle contradicted himself THREE times regarding the case.

          With that said, I’m the stepmother of a 14 year old girl, a 17 year old boy, an 18 year old boy and a 20 year old girl, and I’m the mother of an 18 year old boy and 19 year old girl. I made the comment yesterday, after reading several articles about this case, to my stepson to “stay away from anyone under the age of 16″(since he is 17 now), his response? “Duh. Anyone younger than that is a kid” And AS a parent, I can PROMISE you, any ADULT who doesn’t abide by mine and my husband’s wishes to stay away from our 14 year old CHILD, will have charges pressed on them. It would not matter if that adult was a man or a woman. If you are told to stay away from a minor, you stay away from them.

          Kaitlyn’s parents are insisting this is ONLY and ALL because Kaitlyn is a girl, but frankly, I don’t believe much of anything they say, considering all the discrepencies in their stories up until now.

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          And if your 14year old girl wants to have sex with a 16 year old boy and they do, that makes him a sex offendor in your eyes? You would destroy his life in pressing charges against him?

          Oh America, sometimes you scare me.
          Sometimes you seem to live in a world we don’t understand, sometimes it’s like looking back in time.

          As my history teacher once said “The USA have the oldest democracy, it was the first and while all the others changed over time and became more modern, in some things they are still where they once started.”

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          Is my child’s life less important somehow? My job, as a parent, first and foremost, is to protect MY child. So, essentially, MY child’s life, IS more important to me, than ANYONE elses.

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          Also, just to add, I sincerely hope I’m never put in that position. Truly I do. I raise my kids wanting them to make better choices and be the best people they can be, and think before they act, and not make the same mistakes I did. However, I will never sacrifice my own child for the sake of someone else’s.

    • Thumb up 6

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      You think the reason the parents pressed charges had “a bit” to do with homophobia?

      It’s not really clear at this time, but at least based on Kate’s parents’ testimony/story (which is, obviously, potentially biased), Kate was 1. kicked off the basketball team for being gay and 2. Kate’s girlfriends parents felt Kate “made” their daughter gay, thought homosexuality was wrong, and pressed charges without informing anyone

      I think the gay community is interested because at least according to the parents, this was motivated by homophobia, and, that aside, obviously being gay in a conservative environment would make one at extra risk for statutory rape laws that are problematic all around. I think special points were made here and in various articles about how layers of identity would make one more or less likely to get harsh charges like this. This is not to say white straight cis boys aren’t at risk because of statutory rape laws, but the gay community is logically assuming they are not /as/ at risk. This has been a pattern in the criminal justice system for minorities and marginalized people in general so I don’t think it’s out of line to be watchful of that

  3. Thumb up 14

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    You do not know if this was the first sexual relationship that the 14-year-old (now 15) had because she has not said whether this was or not.

    Fourteen-year-old girls in Florida who are pregnant or have had a baby can marry the guy who impregnanted them WITHOUT parental consent, and the baby’s father is not arrested if he is over 18. Also 14-year-old girls can marry in Florida without a parents’ consent if they have been married before. A judge can decide if the girl can marry.

    Fifteen-year-old girls can now buy morning after pills over the counter without parents’ knowledge or consent. Those girls do NOT have to tell police the age or name of the guy with whom they are having sex.

    So the laws are actually very inconsistent. If a 14-year-old mother can marry without a parents’ consent, then surely a 14-year-old girl can give consent to have a sexual relationship with a girl or a guy.

    Judges and lawmakers cannot have it both ways. Either 14 & 15 is old enough to consent to marry and consent to sex or they are not.

  4. Thumb up 11

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    Despite how unfair it seems that any person would be placed in this legal situation, I can’t help but look at the intersectioning facets of Kaitlyn’s appearance to see why she’s the new poster child for statutory rape laws. Would anyone have cared if she were a WOC instead? Or if she were more masculine-presenting? Or if her parents weren’t so supportive (especially since her father’s cries of injustice were the only reasons this even became an issue), unlike so many other parents of LGBTQ* youth? On one hand, this sucks for her, but she’s got a lot of factors working in her favour to even get a public outcry ON her behalf.

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      I’m with you on this, but I wouldn’t let it take away from my sympathy for her or recognition that the potential for change that comes from this is still very valuable.

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      I agree with Capri; yes, she has a lot of factors going for her (to me, the biggest one being having supportive parents who are willing to fight this with her; the public response is undoubtably influenced by her fem-ness and her skin tone, but having close emotional and financial support will do her more good than a few headlines) but she is still being prosecuted and facing huge consequences, and any change that comes from this has the potential to benefit teens across the board. A public outcry isn’t that helpful if she has to register as a sex offender and serves time in jail; this is an 18 year old girl. I definitely have a lot of sympathy for her regardless.

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    In Canada, there is a different age of consent for vaginal “hetero” intercourse and anal intercourse (anal has a higher age of consent). When the current (Conservative, sigh) government voted to increase the age of consent for vaginal intercourse, people in the LGBTQ community used the debate to voice concerns that parents of gay male teens use the laws to have their sons’ partners charged where their sons had an older partner. LGBTQ advocates tried to get a common age of consent across the board. It didn’t work. It’s completely discriminatory.

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    I don’t understand this, when I was 13, I had a relationship with an 18 year old (guy), and (while no one knew) no one had a big problem with it. What I’m getting at is that this type of stuff happens every day, and can be settled out of court, the only reason this is getting so much attention is because it’s a gay relationship.

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      If no one knew, how do you know they wouldn’t have had a problem with it? I know I’d have a HUGE problem with it, if my daughter(or son) were involved.

      The only reason this is getting so much attention, is because of Kaitlyn’s parents. THEY made this into what it is.

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        There is no question that this kind of relationship is not all that uncommon, and only becomes public/criminalized when the parents of the younger child decide to bring the police into it; so selective enforcement is a problem, and it seems as though young men of color and gay people might be particularly subject to this selective enforcement, because parents or communities more often object to inter-racial or gay relationships. And like many commentators, you are ignoring a key issue: does the younger girl consider her relationship consenting? Does she want the police involved?

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          I haven’t ignored that, that’s a non-issue. The simple fact is, a 14 year old isn’t legally old enough to consent. If the 14 year old wanted to quit school, would that be ok, because she wanted to? If she didn’t want to go to the doctor, even though she is sick, is it ok b/c she didn’t want to? There is a reason why children are children and parents are parents, and parents have control over their minor children until they reach certain ages.

          She did cooperate with the police on the phone call. I know that much, from the different articles.

          I’m not disputing the fact it happens all the time either, I am simply saying, as a parent, it is their RIGHT to tell a legal adult to stay away from their minor child and if that person doesn’t, then it’s their right to involve the police. It happens all the time to white people too. I know for me, it wouldn’t matter what color the person was, or what sex they are, if I tell you stay away from my underage child, and I tell you not to have sexual relations with my underage child, you better bet I’m going to go farther if you don’t listen. I was responsible for my children until they turned 18, my husband and I are responsible for his younger two until they turn 18. Since we bear that responsibility, they follow our rules, and it doesn’t matter if “everyone else is doing it”. Our rules are our rules, and in this case, the younger girl follows HER parents rules, and the 18 year old unrelated adult has NO business being in anyway involved with this child, especially after being told to leave her alone.

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          The fact that the law says a fourteen year old can’t consent does not make it a non-issue. In fact, the dismissal of the 14 year old’s feelings, her legal status as a kind of non-person, is in my view a big problem; part of the trauma of sexual assault is having your ability to consent taken from you, and having others speak for the meaning of what happened to you without your word holding any weight is kind of akin to that. I think that 14 year olds should have more say in this situation than they do; they are not developmentally the same as a three year old, an eight year old, or an eleven year old, and yet they are treated as if they are. And I don’t think parents should have total control of their children in every arena; parenting should be a negotiation of parental authority and teen autonomy, rather than “my rules, end of conversation,” and not all parents make the best decisions for their children. The fact that the girl participated in that phone sting might indicate that she felt the relationship was harmful and non-consenting, or it might be the case that her parents made her, in the kind of authoritarian model of parenting you are advocating. Which I think is a fairly horrible and damaging thing to do to your child.
          Meanwhile, you are also ignoring the issue of selective enforcement; whether you would personally discriminate is beside the point, the question is, are other people, and we’d need a proper statistical analysis to see whether young men of color and gay people are disproportionately prosecuted for this.

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          I agree to an extent, however, a 14 year old can’t get a job, can’t get a license, can’t enter into a legal contract, can’t get an apartment, can’t quit school, can’t be completely self supporting, so why do they need to be having sex and making decisions that could affect the REST of their lives without having the mental capacity to really comprehend what those choices can do to their lives- and yes I realize this is a same sex relationship, I’m speaking generally. I don’t think a parent needs to control every single aspect of a teenagers life, not by a long shot. However, a parent could and SHOULD control who is involved in their underage children’s lives.

          I don’t think it is selective enforcement, in that sense. I think it comes down to the DA doesn’t prosecute unless the parents of the minor press charges first. So if the parents are ok with the relationship, no one gets prosecuted. There would be no way to know how many same sex or interracial relationships haven’t been prosecuted.

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          Just to explain one more time about selective enforcement: if you could look at all the people who have been convicted of statutory rape, and the percentage of them that were young men of color was higher than the percentage of young men of color in the general population at large, then you would know that prejudice is playing a role, and the law is being selectively enforced. Same with the percentage that were gay relationships. See what I’m saying?

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          No, I completely see what you’re saying. I was thinking of it from the very first steps, which would be whether or not the parents press charges, not the other side of it.

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    My opinoin in this case is, lez be honest, good on her! She obviously has had a thing for/with this girl for a while, and the fact that we “coincedntally” only hear about it when she is coincedentally of age to be fitted into the “pedophilia” category indicates a certain bias or timeliness to such actions.

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      She was of age BEFORE the relationship started. You didn’t hear about it until her parents decided that was the only thing that was going to possibly keep their daughter from having to be responsible for her actions, if they could garner enough sympathy and put pressure on the DA’s office. That’s pathetic, in my opinion.

  8. Thumb up 1

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    I think my comment go lost but if I post twice, sorry…

    I really do worry about the 14yo and her life…because if the relationship was consensual and her parents are homophobic, then she’s cut off from all support and living quite a horrible life as they proceed with this case.

    And, if it wasn’t consensual, is she getting the professional support she needs? Is she blaming herself?

    I worry about her in all of this.

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      I’ve always thought that its THAT much easier for lgbts to wind up in jacked up situations like this, THAT much more difficult to do things the “healthy” way. I think depending on where you live…it can be a lot to ask to expect people to avoid things like innappropriate age differences/relationships with married individuals.I used to pity straight girls and all the BS they go through with men until i realized what I’M actually in for. I’m glad its 2013 and all..but it is wicked wicked hard out here (in the midwest) for a pimp.

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      I’m trolling because I’m pointing out facts, facts that were deliberatly misrepresented in an effort to gain sympathy? I’m trolling because I’m not agreeing Kaitlyn is a poor homosexual victim who is being unfairly penalized? That’s hilarious.

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        I don’t think I have ever seen you commenting on any other articles on this site before. Are you just commenting on this article because it annoys you that this girl is being painted as you say “a poor homosexual victim”. I doubt you would even be here if this were really about an 18 year old boy dating a 14 girl(which btw happens quite a lot). You do know this is a website for and about homosexuals, right? Not that we all agree on everything but if you are just here to stir shit because of Kaitlyn’s sexual orientation then that does make you a troll.

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          You’re right, I wouldn’t be here if it were a boy, with an underage girl. No one would have heard about it, he would be convicted, have to register as a sex offender and that would be that, just like has happened thousands upon thousands of times before.

          I was looking at articles on this case, b/c of all the discrepencies in her parents stories. It annoys me they lied to get sympathy. It annoys me that people believe the lies they have told even after facts have come out, all of which have nothing to do with her sexual orientation (except to say that is the ONLY reason the other parents pressed charges is because of that fact) and it annoys me that it’s been turned into a homosexual case, when it has been and should be about the age differences and laws of consent. I’ve commented on a couple of other sites too.

          I’m sorry if an outsider having an opinion is such a problem and I didn’t realize it was “trolling” My bad. Have a great day.

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          “I’m trolling because I’m pointing out facts, facts that were deliberatly misrepresented in an effort to gain sympathy?”

          What facts? Because you say so? You have yet to site ANY source for your facts other than “various articles.”
          Since you’re not familiar with this site, let me clue you in. The broad demographic here are LGBTQ overeducated women with a penchant for excellence in writing among other geekeries. If you want to come here & stir the pot, you better damn well have some reliable factual sources you can name and anything with the word “FOX” in it doesn’t count.

          Yes, I believe by definition a heterosexual, married to a man, mother of grown adult children who has never commented here before and decides to do so with a dissenting point of view and no factual sources to back it up is indeed a troll.

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          Here are your FACTS, along with links to the arrest affidavit, and other links to back it up…

          http://supporthonesty.net/

          I’m still not sure what the nature of this website has to do with anything, as I said before, this should not be and is not about “same sex relationships” it’s about age difference, it’s about the age of consent. I’m allowed to have an opinion no matter what my sexual orientation is, personally.

          All I did was comment to a few specific comments when things were stated incorrectly. That’s not trolling.

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          If this were about a boy I doubt this girl’s parents would have even pressed charges and he would not be registered as a sex offender. I think it’s ridiculous that an 18 year old could serve up to 15 years in prison for having a consenting relationship with another girl she goes to school with and his only 4 years younger than her. You are talking about her like she’s some 40 year old predator of young girls. She is a young girl herself. Not that it matters to you since you’ve clearly made up your mind and yes I do think her sexual orientation plays a big part of your opinion. You can deny it all you want.

          The reason I personally consider what you are doing trolling is because this is the only article on THIS wesbite you are commenting on and you are doing it under the guise of “dissenting opinion”. I doubt you have any interest in this website otherwise or any of the other issues we discuss here.

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          THIS website and THIS article came up when I googled her name. So if you people DONT want “outsiders” coming in here with differing opinions, MAKE IT PRIVATE SO OTHERS CANT COME HERE. Good GRIEF. You know I have children, you DONT know the status of ANY of them, you have NO idea of ANYTHING about me, ONLY that I don’t believe Kaitlyn is the VICTIM. I WOULD say I DONT think this should ruin the rest of her life, frankly, and that I actually AGREE it’s ridiculous that an 18 year old could serve up to 15 years in prison for having a relationship with another high school student, and have their name on a sex offender registry for the rest of their lives, but I ALSO don’t think she needs to get off scot free simply for her sexual orientation, however, you have made up your mind about ME based on a few comments I’ve made… hypocritical much??

          As far as your comments that if this were an 18 year old boy, why don’t you look at ANY sex offender registry, and do the math, they are FULL of men who made this EXACT same choice and paid the price.

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          Autostraddle welcomes “outsiders”. There are plenty of articles on this site where not everyone agrees on things. You probably haven’t bothered to read any of them though since you are only here for one thing. “Outsiders” are fine, it’s the trolls who don’t last very long around here. You admit that you are only here for this particular issue and nothing else. You want to stir the pot.

          As to whether 18 year old boys are on the sex offender registry for similar “crimes”, I’m sure they are and I find it equally ridiculous. IMO, Kaitlyn is a victim. She is as much a kid as her 14 year old girlfriend. She’s not some 40 year old predator cruising for pre-teen girls. She went to high school with this girl and they by all accounts had a consenting relationship. I would feel the same way if Kaitlyn were an 18 year old boy. I wouldn’t want him prosecuted and his name dragged through the mud along with being thrown in jail for 15 years and put on a sex offender list. Not when their are actual sexual predators walking around who deserve to be punished more severely.

          You have certainly made up your mind that she is guilty until proven innocent and that her parents are using her sexual orientation as a scapegoat so if I’m a hypocrite then so are you. You don’t know the facts of these people’s lives any more than I do. Not do you know that she is going to be getting off “scot free”. She has certainly had her name put on blast throughout the media, been outed to her entire community and I’m sure probably judged as a pedophile/sexual-predator in that community regardless of whether that is true or not. To me, that isn’t getting off scot-free and I pray she doesn’t actually have to go to prison for 15 years. And I’m glad she didn’t take that deal that would have labelled her a child-molester for the rest of her life in favor of fighting this in court.

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    There is no further room to reply to Leslee so I’m doing it here and hoping it lands in the right spot.

    The website you cited as your source is ONLY about this case and ONLY takes your point of view. Clearly, it is run by someone with a vested interest in that point of view – perhaps a friend or relative of charging parents? Maybe you’re one of them?

    You’re going to have to do better than that.

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      Furthermore, the website was just created 5/24/2013. Oh, you’re def going to have to do way better than that.

      Clearly you’re here for your own agenda, not to simply “express your opinion.”

      So, who are you and how are you related to the case?

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        Wow, you are quite paranoid. Seriously. My own agenda? you asked, and I said it was easier than googling her name all over again and copying and pasting. It isn’t hard to find the discrepancies, just read a few different articles and the arrest affidavit. I already said it provides links. Click on them. It was probably created for the same reasons I said this entire thing annoys me, because of the lies and discrepancies being stated about this BY Kaitlyn’s parents. But whatever.

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    *Sigh* What angers me the most about this, outside the idea that a young woman’s life could be ruined, is that it diminshes what it means to be a sexual predator.

    When I think of a sex offender, someone I don’t want working around children or in areas where individuals can be vulnerable, I don’t think of a teenager in HS having a relationship with another teen. Statutory rape laws are already questionable, because they rely on culture ideas of what maturity is and when you use them to prosecute relationships between teenagers you make it flat out laughable.

    I want this law to be here to prosecute a 25 year old person from taking advantage of a teen, not to victimize teenagers. We’ve gotten very deep into what consent means and we’ve gone so far, and this for me includes drunk people (who can consent to getting tattoos btw), that we’re making criminals out people who aren’t. This isn’t a slap on the wrist. This is a serious crime to convicted of.

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      “What angers me the most about this, outside the idea that a young woman’s life could be ruined, is that it diminshes what it means to be a sexual predator.”

      Yes!

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    When I was 16, I was with my first girlfriend, who was 21. It was totally consensual, of course, although the age difference was big. It makes me wonder if, had my mother not been so cool and understanding about it at the time, how badly she could have ruined my now ex’s life, her chance at a future, her criminal record, etc. Scary.

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    At the risk of also being ripped apart in the comments… I’ve also seen in later coverage that Hunt was actually born August 1994, making her 18 at the beginning of the year, and as a result she was 18 the whole time. As someone who was in high school, like, two years ago — I do think you SHOULD know better.

    I’m sick and don’t recall where I read the article that cited that birthdate, but if you google it some posts come up — I don’t know if those particular ones are reliable (including mugshot sites/police report sites?). You can also note in articles like this random one I read at Salon (http://www.salon.com/2013/05/24/kaitlyn_hunt_refuses_plea_offer_will_go_to_court_over_high_school_relationship/singleton/) that the lawyer says it was over 3 months after her 18th birthday — hardly the next day. Also, I notice the original reports said Hunt was 18 and the girl was 15, whereas they now say 18 and 14. So, sorry, but I do think it’s reasonable to say an 18-year-old should know better than to get into this situation; if the younger girl were 16, this would be unarguably absurd (maybe that seems arbitrary to some of y’all, but so be it).

    Anecdote! Though I look pretty white, my brother actually looks like a mixed/black guy — he had some white girl’s dad threaten him with stat rape charges. Of course, my brother was 17, she was 16, and he wasn’t even sleeping with her — but, yes, that’s where people’s minds immediately go in some conservative areas… the girl’s actual boyfriend was, like, 19 and I think they did have him arrested. The boyfriend was white. It did not matter to him what kind of guy she was sleeping with — if he was older, he was going down. This is in Alabama, if that matters.

    So the point of my rambling is that YES, this happens in all kinds of situations and it’s screwed up for everybody when it does. It’s not fair for two kids in high school at the same time, within a few years of each other, to have this happen to them. And it’s entirely possible that the biggest motivation was homophobia on the younger girl’s parents’ part. But it really could very well be that they didn’t want their 14-year-old sleeping with a legal adult. Either way, I guess I don’t see why this is a big gay rights rallying issue, UNLESS the law is being applied unequally. But I don’t see that that’s actually happening. In which case the real point is we’ve got attention on these vindictive “rape” convictions, but the only way to change these laws is for her to be convicted and repeal, yeah?

    Hmm. Has the younger girl’s family made any public statements about it?

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    Since Hunt was 18 and the younger girl was 14, I don’t think Romeo and Juliet laws apply here. But can someone please explain to me why this girl is possibly facing 15 years in prison and/or registering as a sex offender, when the Steubenville boys only got one to two years in juvenile prison? Because they’re only one or two years younger than Hunt.

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    What I don’t understand is if they are going to constantly bring in stat rape laws, as well as point out how vastly different the mentality of an 18 year old versus a 14 year old then why do we have the high school set up? These relationships happen all the time because these teens are in the same cloistered environment. I have an early in the school year birthday, and was 18 long before most of my class. I was friends with plenty of 14 year old sophomores, and if one of those cute girls had wanted to get with me I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. We went to the same school, shared some classes, and had the same after school activities. If the laws are going to say that 14 year olds and 18 year olds are not mentally equivalent then they shouldn’t be going to the same establishment for 6 plus hours a day, 7 days a week.

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    I have to say as a teacher and as a person from that town in fl, that kind of relationship happens all the time. Right or wrong, seniors date freshmen. Also, I think it’s laughable to claim homophobia is not an issue. When I went to school there, a student got suspended for wearing a rainbow shirt (and that was 5 years ago). IMO, this is a witch hunt, pure and simple. Stat rape laws are important and do important things, but allowing parents to prosecute the (disliked) significant others of their children is probably not one of those important thing.

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    Well if this girl was 18 dating a 14 year old..ugh.When I was that age I was refusing to date a young lady that was only 6 MONTHS younger than I! 16/14 is a little bit of a gray area but if youre 18 youre 18 and that should be more than cut and dry enough. Don’t date kids dude.

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