On May 24, 2013, Florida woman Kaitlyn Hunt rejected a plea deal that would have required her to plead guilty to a child abuse charge, her attorney announced in a statement, CNN reports.
In a prior court hearing, Hunt pleaded not guilty to felony charges related to a sexual lesbian relationship she had with a fellow teammate on her high school basketball team, who was several years younger.
The charges filed against the expelled high school senior are two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child between the ages of 12 and 14.
ABC News reports that according to an arrest affidavit, Hunt became involved with the freshman when she was 18 and the girl was 14. The girls basketball coach found out about the relationship and informed the younger girl’s mother—who also works as a coach—what was taking place.
The affidavit went on to state that a sting operation began after the girl’s mother contacted police. The girl called Hunt and discussed the details of their relationship with her, resulting in Hunt’s arrest.
According to CNN, Hunt’s lawyer, Julia Graves released a statement Friday, which read, “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 girl, there would be no media attention to this case.”
She added that Hunt is a “model citizen” who has been placed in a situation at school where she and her classmates “go to school together, have lunch together, and play on the same team and are allowed to have communication and contact without barriers. Then when something develops between the two as a result of this environment created by the state, it leads to criminal prosecution.”
Graves also noted that if the relationship had taken place just four months earlier when Hunt was 17, there would be no case.
CNN reports that the father of the 14 year old girl, Jim Smith, said his daughter’s innocence was stolen, therefore, some type of punishment should be given. In an earlier interview with WPEC, both he and his wife, Laurie Smith emphasized the fact that the was same-sex has nothing to do with the case, and their only concern was the girls’ ages.
The Office of State Attorney Bruce Colton said Hunt was offered an “extremely lenient plea offer which would have ensured that the defendant avoided any term of incarceration and the stigma of being labeled a sex offender.”
He added that Hunt would have likely “avoided being a convicted felon” and told CNN he is preparing for a July trial.
CBS News reports that the second-degree felony charges faced by Hunt are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and may require her to register as a sex offender.
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