18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt Florida senior high school student year has become a nightmare — all because she was in a same-sex relationship with a 15-year-old. After Hunt turned 18, she and the other girl, a freshman, began dating and expressed their relationship in “intimate ways.” When the basketball coach found out about their relationship, Hunt was thrown off the team and the other girl’s parents were notified. The parents then told police, and a phone call was recorded between their daughter and Hunt in which the girls discussed their relationship, Gay said.
In many states across the U.S., the public opinion on homosexual relationships, including gay marriage, has begun to change. Many teenagers decide to pursue adult relationships and participate in adult activities, including sexual activities, and as the times change, so should the law.
Currently under Florida law, Hunt could see up to 15 years in prison and must register as a sex offender. According to Hunt’s parents, a plea deal remains on the table that would give Hunt two years’ house arrest and one year of probation. However, if Hunt’s defense fights the case properly, Hunt may stand for conviction but will be free from being on the sex offender registry list, a designation that can be very damaging to a juvenile fresh out of high school student.
Florida’s juveniles want to do what they want to do and sometimes will be charged with sexual battery charges because of them are registered in the system and have records as sex offenders. This can be damaging to many of Jacksonville’s best and brightest in finding careers, particularly for those juveniles whose charges were pursued by disapproving parents who did not like the young girl or boy that their child was involved with, rather than that juvenile actually being guilty of any crime.
Other times, juvenile sex charges are the result of two love-struck teenagers who were caught by their parents and reported to police. Males used to be the prime target for being placed on the sex offender registry, but as this story shows, females have now taken some precedent in sex crime charges in Florida. No matter the individual or the circumstance, being listed on the Sex offender registry can severely hinder this first and probably only-time offender’s future of a decent career.
In response to the growing problem of juveniles being scared by sex offender registry listings, 2007, the “Romeo and Juliet” law was enacted by the Florida legislature. This law allows those previously convicted of a Lewd or Lascivious offense or Sexual Battery to petition the court for removal from the sex offender registry, assuming they meet a strict set of eligibility requirements, listed below:
– One engaged in a consensual sexual encounter with a 14, 15, 16, or 17 year old minor;
– One was no more than 4 years older than the alleged victim at the time of the sexual encounter
– One was subsequently convicted of sexual battery or other Lewd or Lascivious Offenses
– One does not have any other convictions for a Lewd or Lascivious Offense, Sexual Battery, or Lewd or Lascivious Exhibition using a Computer.
– One was required to register as a sexual offender/predator solely because of the single conviction.
One in a situation such as this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville sex crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights, defenses, and options are known and protected. One cannot fight this battle alone. With the help of an experienced attorney, one can be sure that this mistake will be whited out of one’s life and become a thing of the past.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Florida girl, 18, arrested and expelled after relationship with 15-year-old female classmate Erik Ortiz, New York Daily News