On Friday night, 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt and her family went public with their story: Kaitlyn was charged with a felony stemming from a relationship she had with a 14-year-old girl at her high school. The response in the 48-hours that followed, Kaitlyn’s father Steven Hunt told ThinkProgress in an interview, was “extraordinary.”
Already, nearly 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Assistant State Attorney, Brian Workman, to drop the case. On Facebook, more than 13,000 people have joined a group — Free Kate — in support of the family.
Last week, her father said, Workman offered Kaitlyn a plea bargain. She could plead guilty to child abuse, a felony, and spend two years under house arrest. The judge would determine if she would have to register as a sex offender. They were given a deadline of May 24th to accept the offer or face trial.
Kaitlyn’s father suggests his daughters arrest — and the substantial sentence sought by the prosecutor — are motivated by anti-gay bias. He told ThinkProgress that the younger girl’s parents have told teachers at the high school that “their daughter will NOT be gay.”
So what’s next for Kaitlyn?
The family is hoping that public pressure will improve the offer from the State Attorney. Her father said Kaitlyn would be willing to plead to a misdemeanor, but not a felony. If the position of the State Attorney does not change, Kaitlyn and her family are prepared to go to trial.
The family’s attorney, Julia Graves, has assembled a table of experienced defense lawyers that will convene next week to discuss Kaitlyn’s legal options. Meanwhile, Kaitlyn is scheduled to appear in court again on June 20. At that time, if a plea agreement is not reached, the judge could set a date for trial.
This piece has been updated to clarify that the younger girl was 14 at the time of the incidents in question. She is currently 15.