VERO BEACH, Florida (CBS12/WTSP) - The 18-year-old girl Florida accused of having
sexual relations with her 14-year-old girlfriend has accepted the terms
of her new plea deal.
Kaitlyn Hunt on Thursday pleaded no contest to battery, interference with child custody and contributing to the dependency of a child.
Under the terms of Thursday's deal Hunt, now 19, will be
released from jail on December 20. She would serve probation for 3 years, and two of those years she would have to wear an ankle monitor to ensure she
has no contact with her former underage girlfriend in the case.
Hunt will allow the state to search every electronic account to verify she is complying with the deal.
She will not be a registered felon or sex offender.
Kate Hunt's attorney, A. Julia Graves, sent CBS 12 News the following statement:
Hunt is accepting the plea deal in her best interest as well as that of
her family, the 'victim' and the 'victim's' family. It is time to
enter a plea given the current state of the law and get back to living a
somewhat normal life without fear of the unknown for everyone
involved. There is too much risk in trying the case when the State,
particularly Mr. Workman has willingly worked with defense counsel to
obtain this negotiated plea. Kaitlyn is giving up many rights by
entering the plea. Not only does she relinquish her legal rights to a
trial and requiring the State to prove their case, but she also gives up
the opportunity for her supporters as well as her detractors to see and
hear any testimony or evidence.
"We are hoping to put the
litigation behind. We are concerned about the civil litigation
continuing with the attorneys for the 'victim's' family for monetary
damages but nothing in a civil suit affects the plea we are accepting or
causes any violations. Nonetheless, Kaitlyn is going to move on with
her life and follow the conditions of her community control and
probation imposed by the Court. The next task upon her release from
incarceration is to work with supporters and lawmakers toward a change
in the law for teenagers attending the same school, no matter what their
sexual orientation is. Together, we intend to be available to help
educate the students attending our schools and their parents, as well as
the teachers and administration that are unaware of these laws and the
severe consequences they can carry. Kaitlyn, her family, friends and
supporters never want to see another teenager in this kind of situation.
Kaitlyn is particularly grateful to her entire family for their nonstop
love and support as well as the many well-wishers and supporters around
Hunt launched into social media stardom after
her arrest earlier this year for having a same-sex relationship with her then-14-year-old girlfriend. Her 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."
Hunt's family said the girlfriend's family only
turned the teen in because she's gay. That accusation -- one the
girlfriend's family denies to this day -- sparked a worldwide media
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.
And perhaps the State's most generous move in the plea deal concerns that once-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 of 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 Smith family said they will be happy to
have this behind them, so their daughter can focus on high school.