As happens all too often with these viral ethics stories, the facts in the Kaitlyn Hunt case as represented in the first accounts appear to be wrong. Kaitlyn did not first become involved with her girlfriend when both were minors. According to an arrest affidavit , Kaitlyn and her girlfriend began dating in November 2012 when the younger girl was 14 and Kaitlyn was already 18.
Sorry, but that changes everything. Unless one is ready to assert as fact that lesbian relationships in which an adult, however young, becomes involved with a child are less dangerous and potentially damaging than heterosexual ones, Kaitlyn broke a law that is legitimate and sensible as it applies to her, and that law should be enforced. A 14- year old is not capable of meaningful or legal consent, and the opportunity for older, more experienced teens to exploit their inexperience, innocence and deference to older peers is significant and a genuine source of parental—and legal, and societal— concern. If the law permitted an 18/14 year-old sexual relationship between female teens, it would be difficult to explain why 18/12 year-old sexual relationships were materially different, and that being so, legal prohibition on 18-year-old young men seducing 12-year-old girls would be difficult to maintain.
Are there good arguments that a relationship like Kaitlyn’s should be treated differently? Well, there are arguments. Prof. Volokh gives us a few:
“..one can actually make a rational argument for treating lesbian relationships less severely than opposite-sex relationships. Lesbian relationships can’t lead to unwanted pregnancy, and, to my knowledge, are much less likely to spread the most serious sexually transmitted diseases. And while they can involve lies, lead to heartbreak, leave one or both members with a sense that one has been emotionally mistreated and taken advantage of, and so on, one can imagine a parent who can reasonably think “Phew, better that my daughter is having sex with a woman than with a man.” One can even imagine legal rules that draw this distinction, and constitutional rules that uphold such a distinction. Michael M. v. Superior Court (1980) upheld a sex-specific statutory rape law, which punished only males and not females, on the grounds that the law reflects real sex differences, including differential susceptibility to pregnancy. That argument would be even stronger as to a distinction between women-women relationships and other relationships, even given that sex classifications are subjected to heightened constitutional scrutiny (see Michael M. itself), and even if sexual orientation classifications come to be subjected to heightened constitutional scrutiny as well.”
In the end, however, Volokh comes to the same conclusion I do:
“But such an approach, while not irrational, is certainly not the law in Florida, and it’s far from clear that it is correct. The risk of emotional harm to 15-year-olds — harm that they may be even less prepared to deal with than older people are, and harm that they can’t reasonably be seen as consenting to, given their immaturity — remains in lesbian relationships even if the risk of pregnancy is removed and the risk of disease is very low.”
I wonder, therefore, what the A.C.L.U. thinks it is doing entering the debate, as it did today with a press release. Unless it thinks Kaitlyn is being targeted purely because of the same-sex nature of the relationship, and that isn’t apparent to me, its arguments seem weak at best:
- “The facts as we understand them suggest that the state is prosecuting Kaitlyn for engaging in behavior that is both fairly innocuous and extremely common.” Well, that’s none of the A.C.L.U.’s business. The parents of the younger girl and the law have priority over an ideological advocacy group in deciding what is “innocuous.”
- “Such behavior occurs every day in tens of thousands of high schools across the country….” This is “everybody does it,” and nothing more.
- “…yet those other students are not facing felony convictions…” Maybe they should be, if in fact the relationship was not truly consensual.
- “…and, in Florida, the lifetime consequences of a felony conviction) and potential lifelong branding as sex offenders. This is a life sentence for behavior by teenagers that is all too common, whether they are male or female, gay or straight. High-school relationships may be fleeting, but felony convictions are not.” This appears to be an argument against ever punishing teens for anything.
- “While effective laws are certainly needed to protect Florida’s children from sexual predators, one cannot seriously maintain that Kaitlyn’s behavior was predatory.” Really? I don’t know whether or not it was predatory. Is the A.C.L.U. seriously arguing that an 18-year-old is incapable of predatory behavior toward a 14, 13, 12-year old child?
Better standards and laws are needed, but it looks as if, the A.C.L.U. notwithstanding, the prosecution of Kaitlyn is ethically and legally justifiable.
129 thoughts on “The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair: Upon Further Review…”
There are a number of things that concern me about this case. First, I do agree that the law is very harsh in Florida. But we never seem to get the actual story from Kaitlyn’s parents. At first, they said that they were 17 when they started dating, and that the parents vindictively waited until Kaitlyn turned 18.
That story seems to have changed around the time the police report was released stating that actual ages of the girls. At that time, the family claimed that the police not redacting the address was retaliation against them going to the media, even though it is not remotely unusual for the police not to redact the address of the accused.
They have claimed that this prosecution (not just the complaint) is based on their girls sexual orientation, even though the very Romeo and Juliet law that might keep their daughter’s name of the sex offender list was written because of how often this happens to what is fair to assume is a majority of heterosexual relationships.
They have claimed that the police “conspired to entrap” their daughter with the controlled call, even though a controlled pretext call seems to be the way these cases are usually handled when the victim is willing, rather than some extraordinary circumstance that was only applied to them.
The telling part to that last statement is the willing victim. According to the police press conference, the 14 year old girl might have filed the complaint with her parents, and certainly cooperated with the phone call. This is not the same as a wiretapping, which some sites are claiming.
I’ve also repeatedly seen that the plea deal being offered wouldn’t guarantee that she did not appear on the sex offenders list, but in the article below, the D.A. specifically says that it does guarantee such a thing. Is this a case of the media just not keeping up with the fact, which is obvious, or is this an attempt at the family to make the situation seem more sinister? With their history, I can’t make that call.
I sympathize with Kaitlyn, but her parents are doing her a disservice by constantly playing up the victim role when there is no evidence that such is the case. It would be much easier for me to get behind Kaitlyn if they were handling this with some acknowledgment of responsibility on her part, instead of trying to pass the blame everywhere else.
And it would also really help if this wasn’t the only sex crime in the history of sex crimes where almost no article actually mentions that sex was involved. Many of the comments on news sites are under the impression that the girls didn’t do anything sexual because it isn’t mentioned anywhere in the story, not even the headlines, which all say she is charged with a same-sex relationship, not sex with a minor. Whenever these cases involve a boy, the headline is “18 year old man charged with having sex with a minor”, not “teenage boy charged with dating a girl”
Whew. That was longer than I intended. Maybe I should get my own blog and leave yours alone. haha.
John, The headlines are going along with what Kate’s parents are wanting them to say. It’s how the whole campain started. There are a few local papers listing it as Sex with minor. You can read the police report and it is Sex in my book. Her parents want everyone to think it was just casual dating, maybe they feel the way some others feel that because there was no “actual penetration” then there was no sex. Kate’s own mother has said she has dated boys in the past that this was her first relationship/experimentation with a girl.
Any other adult police report no addresses are removed except for the victim and according to this case Kate is not the victim. She is considered the aggressor in this case. On the site for support, supporters have made it know the girls parents name and that they own a business in the area making it impossible for the other girl to stay hidden. Whom is a minor.
The way Florida law and from what is being said locally if she does not take the plea agreement she can and most likely be listed as a sex offender and put on the list. She will be faced with the possibility of up to 15 years in prison and her crime will be a sexual offence. A jury with decide if she is guilty or innocent and a Judge will decide her sentence. Plain and simple. If she chooses to plea out she will plea to a lesser charge of child abuse which does not come with a title of a sex offender and she will get 2 years on community control (House Arrest) where she can leave for school, work, church and doctors, followed by 1 year of probation. Of course she will have disclose that and both charges either way would be on her record. Her lawyer today says they want it dropped even further to a misdemenor so nothing would show up on a felony background screening that they have never asked for all charges to be dropped. Which they have a number of times on the site.
I feel sorry for both girls. Right now there is a media circus and that is all you hear about locally. Her mother and father have both stated they didn’t think it would be as big as it was….really??? Neither girl is going to be able to live in the small town they live in after all of this. That is for sure.
As for the area they are from seems that she shouldn’t even really get that worked up. There was a story in the paper today from where her story is posted about a 22 year old man who was just sentenced today to 2 years in prison and 3 years probation for having sex with a 13 year old when he was 20. She consented to the act. It occured on the beach and there were others involved but no charges were pressed against the other boys since they were minors as well. Maybe he started school late, or got held back a few grades it doesn’t say if he was in school with the girl or if he thought it was okay because the girl said it was ok. Maybe the girl looked older or was more advanced for her age. I guess no one wanted to free him or back him up. I am sure there was a explanation for it. Other than he was dumb and not thinking with the right parts. Who knows. Oh the link to the story is http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2013/may/22/vero-beach-man-gets-2-years-prison-3-years-for/ It looks like it was the same Judge Kate saw the first time she was in jail. Wonder if they will ask for a change of venue.
That’s the problem with the media these days. You can’t stop social media from saying whatever it is going to say, but actual news sites should check facts before just copying someone’s claims about what happened to their daughter.
It took me about two minutes of Google searching to find this document:
Click to access 208803.pdf
It says that 30% of all statutory rape cases involve boyfriends and girlfriends, and that when the victim is the age she was in this case, the offenders are between the ages of 18-20 43% of the time. The offenders are overwhelmingly male. Meaning that what the media is saying would never happen and basing their discrimination claims on, actually happens 43% of the time based on age, 30% of the time based on relationship. When you include in the stats for offenders under the age of 18 being charged for statutory rape of a 14 year old, that 43% climbs to 59% of all statutory rape cases. Clearly, this happens to guys in Kaitlyn’s shoes all the time. The media couldn’t spend two minutes Googling to see if there was any merit to the discrimination claims and instead decided to divide a nation with half truths? Irresponsible journalism at its worst.
As far as the parents possibly not thinking what the girls did was sex, I’m not sure they even understand what the charges are. Their lawyer must be horrible. In the article where they are complaining about the police report they said that the ages of the girls was “irrelevant”. How can the ages of the girls be irrelevant in an AGE of consent case? Do they even understand what their daughter is accused of? And I can’t imagine a lawyer who would be fine with his client essentially confessing to the crime on Facebook in order to garner support. If you plan on pleading “not guilty” the first rule is not to tell the whole world that you are guilty.
Great post, John, and not too long at all. Thanks, and congratulations: the Comment of the Day.
this article as many that i have come across states there are conflicting facts stated in the parents articles, statements and so forth. well yes this is correct. I have also read many conflicting articles as well. and if i were just a common law abiding citizen watching the news or reading the local news paper, I too might just take a sip of my coffee, take another drag off of my cigarette and say well lookie here..another dang sex offender trying to get out of trouble, another sip of coffe e, drag or two..what’s a wrong with America? you do the crime you pay the time.. what ever, ohh wonder how the hockey game turned out last night, turns the page. life goes on. And it does. but lets just say for instance, that was your childs name in that news article you just read. your little girl that you cherish. You know who I’m talking about, your baby. that little girl that you smiled at every morning that used to bring you that coffee cup and wanted to know if you needed anything else cause you rocked her world and she rocked yours? She just turned 18 now..you know she is leaving right? she’s an adult and we gotta let them go. Cause the law says they are adults now. they can make it on their own. they get to make their own decisions. But we know they aren’t ready, we know cause they are our babys. we wish we could change that law don’t we? we know because we are the ones letting go. well here you have it..the law is what takes our baby’s from us. but the laws are wrong aren’t they? you said it just like I did. Drink your coffee, smoke your cigg and turn the page or open your eyes. that’s all it takes.
How about all our sons they have taken under the same law (not mine personally). You can’t just say it’s not right it’s a little darling girl and she wasn’t ready for the big bad world. Her parents didn’t prepare her. I knew at 16 right from wrong and that was many moons ago.
Talk to Dave…he doesn’t believe anyone’s sons have been prosecuted, because the facts get in the way of his righteous indignation.
YA well some people are ignorant and that of course is too close to stupid to me and you can’t fix stupid. Most people don’t bother to look at the sexual offender registry and by look I mean click and read what the crime was. If they were to do so they would see we have many young men on the registry for the same thing as Kaitlyn, some remain on the list well after they serve the time and go on to marry the victim and have children too.
The fact that they may marry the victim doesn’t mean that she wasn’t a victim. See: Mary Kay LeTourneau
There are quite a few things that bother me about all this. Most of it has been said already. All three sexual encounters were started by kate, at her own admission.supposedly kates parents knew the nature of this relationship and yet they allowed their 18 yr old daughter to take a 14 yr old into her bedroom behind closed doors? Why? Another thing, kate knew exactly what was wrong about all this, as she had to testify as a witness in a previous case of the like.
Kate is 18. Why is she attracted to a 14 yr old? Also, the first two encounters were in a public bathroom in school.
Kate was in the wrong here. A 14 yr old is at a very impressionable age.
This is not a gay rights case. This is a case of an adult taking advantage of a younger impressionable teen. And if those supporting this case so strongly would just step back and see the whole picture, they would see what fools they are making of themselves. I hate to see someones life ruined, but at this point i hope they throw the book at her. It cannot be thought that it is ok to claim discrimination to get out of this type of a charge. This is serious. And this could have serious effects on the 14 yr old. Where is the support for thier family? For the actual victim?
And i am still disturbed by the fact that kates parents think this is ok. My goodness, my son or daughter at the age of 18would not be allowed to bring 14 yr olds home to thier bedrooms. Not any age for that matter… but i guess my 18 yr old views 14 yr olds as kids still too.
She performd a lewd act on a 14 yr old. The charge is fair. And all the dishonesty from her side is just overwhelming.
Excellent article. I came to much of the same conclusions about the Hunt case on my blog:
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The sexual grooming and statutory rape allegedly committed by Kaitlyn is defended by liberals based on their utterly false claim that homosexuality is normal, therefore pursuing homosexual behavior is not only acceptable but laudable – and that includes child exploitation, seduction, homosexual grooming, perversion, and statutory rape. Liberals wrongly believe that homosexual urges are biologically determined and therefore must be followed through in action – that is why they normalize homosexuality, and use the same rationale for porn and promiscuity. It’s all an excuse for rationalizing their dysfunctional attitudes and behaviors regarding sexuality, but any excuse will do for people who want just that.
It’s clear that those defending Kaitlyn would encourage, aid, and abet teenagers in committing many kinds of sexually exploitative and abusive actions, including every single statutory rape in society. This is, after all, the liberal recipe for sexuality regarding teenagers. Despite their ridiculous protestations that they are not in the same boat as the NAMBLA folks, liberals who normalize homosexuality show us that, in practice, they want to largely achieve what NAMBLA failed to do. They want to have sex with minors and claim to be oppressed and misunderstood if they aren’t allowed to – the only difference is the cut-off age, since NAMBLA also included smaller kids. Furthermore, NAMBLA consistently pushed to lower consent age for sex – exactly one of the issues in this case.
Kaitlyn’s parents shamelessly proclaimed that Kaitlyn was just “experimenting with her sexuality and the other girl’s.” So, what if this Kaitlyn had wanted to produce child porn with this 14-year-old? What if she wanted to have a three-some with an adult and the 14-year-old? Should she be allowed simply because she has a homosexual problem and her parents claim that Kaitlyn has the right to “experiment with other girls’ sexualities” in any way that her perverted homosexual mind conceives of? Kaitlyn’s “right” to “experiment” with other kids stops where other kids have the right not to be experimented with – and that applies to every single kid. All the more power to the girl’s parents who went to the police. And lucky for them that they still can. If liberals continue to push for their “normalize homosexuality” crusade, pretty soon parents with ethical views on sexuality will probably be hauled into jail for not accepting homosexuality as normal and for objecting that their kids be groomed for homosexual sex, which we all know is hailed as the hate and bigotry thought crime du jour.
Heterosexual activity is also “normal,” but it doesn’t justify statutory rape.
As a liberal I rejected the claim of this being a gay/straight issue from day one. This has nothign to do with paranoid ramblings about liberals wanting adults to be able to sleep with kids.
The Hunt family did try to coopt the gay rights movement in an attempt to keep their daughter from prison. And some did go along with it (though I have noticed some extra silence since it turned out that some of what the Hunt family said was false)
Thus you just proved that one can never trust a liberal to tell the truth about what liberals want or do in society.
An admirably restrained remark. I would have written, “Wait…WHAT???”
I think it is important to point out that when this case was first reported, the media stated that the victim was 15, and Kate was 17; and this was a case of Romeo and Juliet, and should be tried as a Romeo and Juliet case. And I would agree if those had been the true facts.
Also the media reported that they were peers in school despite the victim’s age. Apparently she is a pretty smart cookie and was in upper-classman classes and was also on the Varsity Basketball Team, or Softball, I forget which, where she met Kate.
The media also fueled the speculation that the victim’s parents deliberately waited until Kate turned 18 and then called the police. The media also reported that the victim’s parents are very religious and conservative and were infuriated by Kate “turning” their daughter gay. Of course it now appears that Kate’s parents were the sources of all of this information.
Once the actual police report was released, clearly showing that Kate was 18 and the victim 14, a lot of support for Kate from the LGBT community withered away. This is NOT a case of Romeo and Juliet, and I don’t believe the LGBT community condones this; although I would not presume to speak for the LGBT community.
Actually it still is a case of Romeo and Juliet as the age difference still fall within the legally prescribed ranges. She could still petition the court to have herself removed from the lists if convicted of a crime that would require her to register.
What legally proscribed ranges? Not in Florida, they don’t. One is an adult, the other is a child. My version of R & J is different from yours. I think you got the NAMBLA version.
Please educate yourself before trying to insult me. It only makes you look foolish. http://www.flsenate.gov/PublishedContent/Session/2012/InterimReports/2012-214cj.pdf
“In Florida, prior to the passage of s. 943.04354, F.S., if a 15 year-old and an 18 year-old were engaged in a consensual sexual relationship, the 18 year-old was subject to registration as a sexual offender and could not petition the court for removal of the requirement to register for 20 years after the completion of his or her sentence, or if adjudication was withheld, 10 years after being released from all sanctions. Florida’s “Romeo and Juliet” law does not make it legal for an 18 year-old to have a sexual relationship with a 15 year-old; however, it does provide a mechanism for the offender to petition or make a motion to the court to remove the requirement to register as a sexual offender if certain criteria are met.”
“Section 943.04354, F.S., provides a process allowing a motion or petition for removal of the requirement to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator for qualifying “Romeo and Juliet” offenders who meet specific criteria outlined in the statute. Most notably, the victim must be at least 14 years-old, the offender no more than 4 years older than the victim at the time of the offense, and the victim must have consented to the sexual conduct.”
Are you saying the Florida Senate is lying?
No, I’m saying you pulled a bait and switch. Please be clear next time. We have used “Romeo and Juliet” here as a metaphor for blameless, innocent romances between minors. If you were going to switch the topic to the issue of sex-offender registrant status, you should have said so. Based on the comment your comment responded to, I assumed you were speaking about whether she should and could be prosecuted, not just about petitioning after conviction to avoid being listed as a sex offender.
The link is interesting and informative, but I don’t see that it relates to the main post. I’ll always look foolish when commenters set traps like that, because I trust them to stay on point. Using Romeo and Juliet in a statutory context when we had been using it to mean something more general was your error, not mine. Based on what I thought you were saying, the perceived insult was invited. Since that wasn’t what you were saying, I apologize for the NAMBLA line.
Florida has a law called the “Romeo and Juliet” law. How was I to know that the poster was not talking about Florida’s Romeo and Juliet law and instead were talking about some other general concept? (Especially when the comment I responded to included the words “… and should be tried as a Romeo and Juliet case…” and such a case would be tried under the laws of Florida)
That Romeo and Juliet law, under which the poster I gave a response to said Hunt should be tried, states that while she is not absolved of the crime that she can petition to not be on the offender registry.
And my first comment on this thread basically said that I agreed with pretty much everything you said in the initial post. So obviously I agree with the justness of the prosecution.
This was an episode in “Fiddler on the Roof,” I recall–the famous “daughter/cow” confusion.
Yes, I understand, and I forgot that there were so many comments on the thread before you jumped in. There was no way for you to know the context.
The R and J law only applies after they are convicted, but it can be rejected if one of the Bullet Holes below applies (I think one does ” prior warning by parents or others to stay away from the victim,”)
-Kaitlyn was warned twice to stay away and she did NOT
Petitions Not Granted
There is no way to determine exactly how many motions or petitions for relief have not been granted by the courts. Survey responses from state attorneys indicate that one reason a judge would deny a petition would be if the offender did not meet the criteria of the statute. Another reason would be if the state attorney objected. When asked why a prosecutor might object, even if the offender appeared to meet the criteria of the statute, some of the reasons provided are:
• defendant’s criminal history,
• evidence of similar uncharged/non-arrested behavior,
• situation appeared more coercive than consensual,
• offender provided drugs or alcohol to the victim,
• prior warning by parents or others to stay away from the victim,
• defendant had multiple charged and uncharged relationships with minors,
• offender “targeted” the under-age victim on web or chat room, or
• the offender was in a position of authority over the victim.
I’ve read everything about this case that I’ve been able to find, and there is absolutely NOTHING to indicate, or even suggest, that Kaitlyn Hunt was a “sexual predator.”
The younger girl was scholastically and psychologically precocious. Not only did she attend senior classes with Hunt, she was on the same basketball team and shared the same circle of friends.
The two girls clearly regarded themselves and each other as peers and equals, not as “adult” and “child.”
I have also found nothing to indicate which person initiated or pursued the relationship. It’s entirely possible that the Smith girl pursued Hunt, not the other way around, and that it was the Smith girl, not Hunt, who initiated expanding the relationship into sexual activity. It was the Smith girl, after all, who ran off and spent the night at Hunt’s house, not the other way around.
Too many people are forgetting that the average 14-year-old is NOT a “child,” but a young adult with a mind and will of her own– and that a precocious 14-year-old is even more so. A precocious 14-year-old considers herself, for all intents and purposes, as being an “adult”–and she makes her decisions accordingly.
You and NAMBLA have the same discourse. You also want people to forget how non-adult a 14 yr old is.
Additionally, you want young teens or tweens to be regarded as valid sex targets.
Kaitllyn Hunt is a sexual predator and since you defend her and validate the sexual exploitation of 14 yr olds, so are you in regard to your repulsive attitudes trying to legitimize sex between adults and tweens/teens.
Carl: Ah, so you believe that a 14 year old can pursue a sexual relationship and that makes it ok?
Try that in court. “But, but your honor, she really wanted it. I swear”. Yeah, that aughta go over really well.
Hunt had the responsibility to say no. She didn’t. Now she is in trouble. Her father (a former cop) should have explained this to her.
This was also, you may recall, Rep. Maxine Waters’s defense of Bill Clinton. That poor, helpless, President of the United States was pursued by a lusty 20-something intern…it’s not his fault. It’s hers!
Well, that is apples and oranges. Lewinsky claimed to want to go to Washington to earn her presidential kneepads. She was also of legal age and capable of consent.
Not defending Clinton or Waters as both participants in that affair are responsible for their actions. And that is the difference between the Clinton affair and Hunt’s affair. Both Lewinsky and Clinton could legally consent to sexual relations and both are responsible for their actions. At 14, Hunt’s partner was not at that point.
The parallel is this: under federal sexual harassment law, Clinton is regarded as having innate inequality and coercive power over a low level employee, making “consent” to sex with him by an intern impossible. Thus,as President and ultimate superior, he has a legal and ethical obligation to say no.
Both cases involve sexual participants viewed as unequal under the law, with one party abusing power and influence and the other’s consent being invalid.
Update, she’s not very smart, is she? http://www.wptv.com/dpp/news/region_indian_river_county/vero_beach/kaitlyn-hunt-accused-of-violating-terms-of-pre-trial-release-in-sebastian-teen-sex-case