Kaitlyn Hunt in an undated personal photo. Credit: CBS News/Facebook
VERO BEACH, Florida (WPEC) -- Assistant State Attorney Brain Workman confirms Kaitlyn Hunt will be offered a plea deal, and is expected to accept the
The Florida teen launched into social media stardom after
her arrest at age 18 for having a same-sex relationship with her then-14-year-old girlfriend.
Hunt has been given another plea deal,
her third offer since her arrest. Prosecutors believe she will accept
the deal this time, since it will ultimately get her out of jail.
Assistant State Attorney Brian Workman offered this plea: (excerpt)
The Defendant will enter a plea of no contest to:
COUNT 1. BATTERY, F.S. 784.03(1)(B) (LESSER-INCLUDED OFFENSE)
COUNT 2. BATTERY, F.S. 784.03(1)(B) (LESSER-INCLUDED OFFENSE)
COUNT 4. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY, F.S. 787.03 (DIRECT-FILE)
COUNT 5. INTERFERENCE WITH CHILD CUSTODY, F.S. 787.03 (DIRECT-FILE)
COUNT 6. CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEPENDENCY OF A CHILD, F.S. 827.04(1) (DIRECT-FILE)
to counts 4 and 5 the judge will withhold adjudication and sentence the
defendant to a total of three years of felony supervision. The first 3
months of supervision will be probation followed by 2 years of
community control with the remainder on probation. The following are
a. The defendant shall
remain in the county jail until December 20, 2013. On that date, she
will be released and probation will convert to community control.
The defendant shall have no contact directly or indirectly, including
electronically or through third parties, with victim.
The plea has strict guidelines Hunt must follow to apply later to have her record expunged and avoid further prosecution.
story went viral in May when her family launched a social media campaign
"Stop the Hate -- Free Kate" at freekate.net. Her family wrote Hunt was being unfairly prosecuted for being gay.
"It's because she's
a lesbian," said her mom Kelley Hunt on May 22. "This is two
girls in high school, dating, just like every other couple in high
school... they are kids."
But Hunt's family said the girlfriend's family only
turned Hunt in because she's gay. That accusation -- one the girlfriend's family denies to this day -- sparked a worldwide media frenzy.
But law enforcement said not so fast; Kate Hunt was warned to stay away, and knew what she was doing was wrong.
her Facebook posts she acknowledges she could get in trouble for this,"
said Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar. "I think you must look at
all the facts involved."
From the beginning, the Smith family
said this case was about protecting their daughter from an older,
sexually aggressive teen.
"She was warned to
stop," said Laurie Smith, the victim's mother in a CBS 12 exclusive. "I
love my daughter. I'm willing to do whatever to protect her."
Hunt's family launched an online petition to have the charges dropped. The change.org petition collected more than 322,000 signatures.
family also raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for Kate's legal
defense. Charged with underage sex with a minor, Hunt's legal team
turned down two plea deals that would have kept the teen out of jail.
in August, she broke a judge's order to leave the younger teen alone,
and was sent back to jail. The case started to fall apart as it came to
light that Hunt defied a judge's order close to 20,000 times to have no
contact with the underage teen on an iPod she had given the girl, including nude and lewd pictures of herself.
On Tuesday, the Smith family acknowledged the
plea deal is what they want. They told CBS 12 they never wanted to see
Kate Hunt put in jail, but they did want her to face some type of punishment for
what they call abuse of their daughter.
Hunt has been in jail for six weeks now, and prosecutors say she will take the deal. An assistant for Hunt's attorney on Wednesday said they weren't commenting on the deal.
20 is her release date from the Indian River County Jail. Once she's
released, she will wear a GPS ankle monitor for two of her three-year probation.
But the deal gives Hunt a gift: she will not face
prison time, and will not face a jury. She will not be charged with a
felony, according to the plea.
The state will allow Kate:
1. No felony conviction unless the defendant violates probation.
2. No sex offender registration.
3. To petition the court to seal or expunge this case from her record once she serves her sentence.
Perhaps the State's most generous move in the deal concerns that one-secret iPod.
"On the iPod I
observed videos and pictures of Kaitlyn Hunt," testified Detective Jeremy
Shephard. "I observed nude photographs of Kaitlyn Hunt."
All those texts and messages this detective catalogued on the
iPod the two teens shared will be nolle prosequi -- not prosecuted -- for
now. The state can come back and refile charges on Hunt if she violates
any terms of her probation.
The judge will hold a hearing later
this week to finalize the deal. The Smith family said they will be happy to
have this behind them, so their daughter can focus on high school.
For now, Kate Hunt remains in the Indian River County Jail, her bond revoked.