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What is in Florida teen's future after plea in criminal case?

Many of our readers here in Fort Lauderdale are quite familiar with the case of Kaitlyn Hunt who was charged with lewd and lascivious battery after she entered into a same-sex relationship with a 14-year-old student. Her case has grabbed national attention and brought up many questions about what will happen to the teen as a result of these criminal charges.

While she may have been spared the lifelong struggle of dealing with sex offender registration, the charges against her came with incredible scrutiny from the community and harsh accusations from the 14-year-old girl’s parents. This could mean harsh judgments from people in the community that could still affect where she lives, where she goes to school and even where she gets a job still.

One consolation may be that because she’s 19 years old, Hunt will not have to fight the uphill battle that she would have faced if she had returned to school. If she had been younger, then she may have encountered resistance from the school district that may not have wanted her around other students because of the trial. Parents of students at the school may have also protested her return to school, which would have had a significant impact on Hunt’s education and way of life.

Then there is the matter of the 14-year-old herself. As her parent’s told reporters after the trial, they felt that Hunt had manipulated their daughter into staying in the relationship. If hunt had returned to school, the 14-year-old girl’s parents may not have agreed with this decision and may have fought to have Hunt expelled.

While this negative stigma will likely follow her for the rest of her life, Hunt contests that she was not aware she was breaking any laws when she started the relationship. If she had known about Florida’s laws surrounding sexual relationships with minors, then perhaps she would have made different choices and not found herself in this serious situation.

Source: ABC News, "EXCLUSIVE: Florida Teen Unaware Same-Sex Relationship With Underage Girlfriend Was Illegal," Joseph Diaz, Andrew Paparella, and Alexa Valiente, Oct. 4, 2013

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