A Florida schoolgirl has been charged with two felony counts of 'lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12 – 16 years of age' after it emerged she was having a relationship with a fellow female student of 15.
Kaitlyn Hunt, 18, was charged in February, after the parents of her girlfriend reported her to the police. Her school, Sebastian River High, was also informed, and she was expelled.
Kaitlyn is reported to have been in a 'consensual relationship' with her unnamed girlfriend, who was a member of the same school basketball team.
Kaitlyn's outraged family have started a petition to halt the prosecution of the schoolgirl, who has reportedly been offered a plea deal of two years house arrest followed by a year of probation by the courts, a bargain which would result in the charges staying on the record and potentially affecting her chances of finding work.
The Hunt family claim their daughter's girlfriend's parents are trying to ruin Kaitlyn's life simply because they cannot accept their own daughter's sexuality.
"They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she 'made' their daughter gay," Kaitlyn's mum Kelley Hunt Smith told Examiner.com.
"They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100 percent differently. I don't see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality with mutual consent and even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter," she said.
Kaitlyn's uncle Andrew Kenneth Gay wrote on the Facebook page set up in support of his niece that the age difference would not have occurred to the girls, and that they would have not have known they were doing anything wrong.
"The two girls were about 3 years and 7 months apart in age, and Kaitlyn turned 18 in August of last year," Mr Gay wrote.
"Kate, however, is a very small, young-looking senior in high school, and her girlfriend was [a] much taller freshman, older in appearance, an [International Baccalaureate] student enrolled in classes with upper classmen, and played on the same Varsity basketball team as Kate."
"They were peers in the same social circle with the same friends. I'm not sure age ever entered into either of their minds. Kate was later kicked off the basketball team for fear that two girls dating each other would cause 'drama'," he said.
Prior to her arrest, Kaitlyn's girlfriend's parents had gone to the school board to request she was removed from the school, before contacting Indian River County Police over the girls' relationship.
The police then reportedly recorded a phone call between the two girls in which they talked about their relationship. The authorities then used the covert recording as the basis for charging Kaitlyn.
Although her parent's managed to successfully appeal against her expulsion from school, her girlfriend's parents took the issue to the county school board who then ordered that Kaitlyn finish her schooling at a different school.
The case is ongoing.