Chris Hayes | Florida | Kaitlyn Hunt | News

Chris Hayes Talks to Kaitlyn Hunt, Charged with Felony for Relationship with Another Girl: VIDEO


As Steve reported last weekend, Florida’s Sebastian River High School senior Kaitlyn Hunt began a relationship earlier this year with a fellow classmate, a 15-year old girl. This past February, soon after her 18th birthday, she was arrested and charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12–16 years of age. Hunt's parents claim the the family of their daughter's girlfriend has never approved of the same-sex relationship and has since made Hunt a target.

Chris Hayes last night spoke with Hunt, her mother, and lawyer about the case.


Hunt's family has started a petition on (which has so far netted over 160,000 signatures) as well as a Free Kate Facebook page.

CNN adds:

While some of the 150,000 people signing an online petition asking prosecutors to drop the case have suggested that it's being handled differently because it involves a same-sex relationship, Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said that has nothing to do with it.

"If this was an 18-year-old male and that was a 14-year-old girl, it would have been prosecuted the same way," he said. CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin concurs, saying whether the people involved are same-sex or opposite-sex, the legal issues are the same.

"A kid, a child under the age of 16, cannot consent to having sexual relations with an 18-year-old, an adult under the eyes of the law," she said. "And that really is all this case comes down to when you look at it legally."

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  1. So, basically if you're son or daughter is gay and you don't like it, wait until their partner turns 18 and then have them arrested.

    Yup, that'll teach 'um.

    Posted by: johnny | May 23, 2013 9:49:15 AM

  2. If she broke the law, she broke the law. No special treatment.

    Posted by: brian | May 23, 2013 9:57:44 AM

  3. Until Florida and other states get a Romeo and Romeo or Juliet and Juliet exception on the books, LGBT outreach might do well to use this case as an educational tool. The law is here ( and there seems to be very little wiggle room in it.

    I wonder what evidence they have that the two girls actually engaged in sexual acts together. I'm guessing it's just testimonial, so maybe if this turns into a "she said/they said" case Kaitlyn can still win.

    Posted by: Edward | May 23, 2013 10:02:10 AM

  4. If this law was enforced across the board, then a large segment of sexually active teenagers (which, let's face it, is a majority of teenagers) would be arrested on their 18th birthday unless they were dating someone with the exact same birthdate as themselves.

    Posted by: shaun | May 23, 2013 10:03:18 AM

  5. brian: If Kaitlyn was a boy, he *never* would have been prosecuted, even if his girlfriend's parents disapproved of the relationship and turned him in. There's your "special treatment".

    The justice system works for us and we retain rights as jurors to nullify. This BS case needs to be aired far and wide.

    Posted by: lumpmoose | May 23, 2013 10:07:54 AM

  6. What is a fact of life in other countries is an obsession in the USA. People are way too fixated on sex and what other people are doing. Sure, she's a minor, but kids sometimes fool around and nothing comes of it.

    Plus, shouldn't we wonder about how much sex is protrayed in entertainment, the media, and everywhere else? And kids aren't supposed to be influenced by that? We are a nation of hypocrites.

    Posted by: Jack M | May 23, 2013 10:08:02 AM

  7. @JackM,

    The age of consent in the U.S. [determined state by state] is roughly the same as any other 'advanced' western nation. It's 16 in most states, 17-18 in a small number. I know Arizona is 18. A small number of states [something like 6] also legally differentiate between heterosexual and homosexual, making the homosexual age of consent higher. General rule of thumb is 16-17 can legally consent to sex with a partner with no more than a 2 year age difference.

    I agree, she should not be prosecuted, especially with a felony charge. Very vindictive.

    And men 18 and over are frequently charged with statutory rape. If anything the laws favor females, not males.

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 23, 2013 10:18:48 AM

  8. The "boy" would have been sentenced immediately....

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | May 23, 2013 10:19:09 AM

  9. Boys have actually gotten 10 year sentences for this....know your facts before you spout your misandry....

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | May 23, 2013 10:20:08 AM

  10. Seniors date freshman and sophmores all the time. Why don't the police spend their time and resources chasing real criminals?

    Posted by: Joey | May 23, 2013 10:35:44 AM

  11. Actually, according to the police report, Kaitlyn was 18 and the victim 14 when the relationship started. Also, the parents went to the police as soon as they found out she was in a sexual relationship with an adult.

    Posted by: Summer | May 23, 2013 10:39:40 AM

  12. It's ironic that I've heard lesbians ready to castrate 18 year old males for having sex with their 15 year old girlfriends. There are different standards being applied on BOTH sides of this argument. Some people who would have no problem with a heterosexual relationship like this are OUTRAGED over this lesbian relationship and some people who would be OUTRAGED over an 18 year old male and a 15 year old female are OUTRAGED that a lesbian is being treated the same as the 18 year old male. I think ALL of it is OUTRAGEOUS. 15 year olds know what they are doing in 2013; particularly when we are talking about a three year age difference. We have too many people on BOTH sides ready to lead witch hunts based on personal prejudices.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | May 23, 2013 10:42:12 AM

  13. How sad, and so, so unnecessary.

    Posted by: John Mulholland | May 23, 2013 10:45:03 AM

  14. First of all, though the younger girl recently turned 15, the criminal charges were brought because of sex that occurred when that younger girl was 14 but Hunt was 18 (see the CBS coverage of the case).

    While the younger girl in this case was in high school, plenty of 14-year-olds are still in middle school.

    Too many gay people are reacting like Pavlovian dogs just because Hunt's family is claiming homophobia. Don't you see that Hunt's family has an incentive to claim that homophobia is behind the charges? But the fact of the matter is, Florida has a statutory rape law, and 14 is well below their age of consent. Is it really "anti-gay" to have statutory rape laws on the books?

    If you don't want homophobes to "target" you, don't break the law!

    Plenty of parents do not want their 14-year-olds to be sexually active, whether it's with a man or a woman. Do we really want to fight this battle? We are going to see blowback if we act as if it's a "gay rights" issue that a legal adult is being prosecuted for breaking a law that says you cannot be a legal adult and have sex with a 14-year-old!

    Posted by: Matt | May 23, 2013 10:53:23 AM

  15. If I was the parent of that girl, I'd be pretty damned happy that she was a lesbian and not out getting pregnant with a guy before her time.

    What better birth control for a girl than her being gay?

    Meanwhile, 18 yr. old guys still in highschool are getting thousands upon thousands of girls pregnant with zero prosecutions happening.

    Bias, much?

    Posted by: johnny | May 23, 2013 10:57:29 AM

  16. Yeah, let's get one thing straight -- the ages of the participants at the time the sex occurred were 18 and 14, not 18 and 15. The police report clearly states that.

    I assume most of the commenters here are repeating the inaccurate numbers out of ignorance, not out of a deliberate attempt to distort. I am less convinced that that's the case with regards to the people who are reporting on the issue.

    If you really want to fight this battle, the first step is actually getting the numbers right.

    Posted by: Matt | May 23, 2013 10:59:01 AM

  17. @brian -- This law was not designed to prosecute and penalize a consensual relationship between two teenagers, which is the reason that the ROMEO law exists in Florida and other states. It recognizes that fact that sometimes a teen will date another teen and as long as the difference in their ages isn't larger that "X" number of years [it differs between states] then it's not considered statutory rape. Kaitlyn Hunt's relationship with her girlfriend is not the same as Jerry Sandusky's relationship with the young boys that the r@ped and then threatened to kill if they told anyone about it. You get that, right?

    Posted by: Gigi | May 23, 2013 11:00:40 AM

  18. If we are going to argue that 18 year old high school kids should not be having relationships with 14/15 year old high school kids, then the solution is simple: Don't let 18 year old kids go to school with 14/15 year old kids.

    You cannot put kids in the same classes, on the same sports teams, and allow them to fraternize and hang out, and then expect them not to be friends (or more, as in this case). It never crossed my mind as a high school senior that I shouldn't flirt with 9th or 10th grade boys because they were on my baseball team, in my gym class, and at my lunch table in the cafeteria. I didn't stop to consider that it was illegal -- they weren't "minors" and I wasn't an "adult" in my mind, we were just schoolmates and friends.

    I realize that the law says otherwise, but not many teens ever step back to view it from that perspective.

    Posted by: Ryan | May 23, 2013 11:05:05 AM

  19. @lumpmoose -- I don't mean to contradict you, especially since you were responding to brian, but boys are prosecuted for this all of the time. That being said, it's not right. If it IS statutory rape, as in the older teen coerced or forced the younger teen into having him with him/her, then it should be prosecuted as such. But this is not the case [from the facts we've been given] is this instance. Trying a child - Kaitlyn is 18 but she's still in school - for a crime committed by the likes of Jerry Sandusky is cruel and unnecessary. The laws should be changed to reflect the many nuances of the different scenarios.

    Posted by: Gigi | May 23, 2013 11:06:14 AM

  20. The thing people seem to be missing is this started when they were both minors. It is not like she was a 18 year old who just started the relationship with a 15yo. I know a lot of friends who would have been prosecuted for this.

    Posted by: Walter | May 23, 2013 11:07:25 AM

  21. "If it IS statutory rape, as in the older teen coerced or forced the younger teen into having him with him/her, then it should be prosecuted as such."

    Jesus Christ, Gigi. Statutory rape is based on the idea that below a certain age, sex CANNOT be consented to! You don't grasp that???

    Do you think it's only statutory rape when a 6 year old is "forced" or "coerced" into sex, but not when the 6 year old "consents"?

    People can and do differ about where the age cutoff should be, but you are writing as if the very concept of statutory rape doesn't exist!

    Posted by: Matt | May 23, 2013 11:09:29 AM

  22. The fact is that most boy/girl relationships of this nature are indeed prosecuted in Indian River county but are pled down to misdemeanor charges. Kaitlyn has agreed to do so but the prosecutor and the family of the "alleged victim" have refused so this case is being treated differently.

    Also I find it rather ironic that this county in Florida has a 14 year old behind bars being prosecuted as an adult for armed robbery because he was mature enough to make the decision to commit the crime but this 14 year old girl is considered a child that can't legally consent to sex. Hypocritical much?

    Posted by: Karen | May 23, 2013 11:12:21 AM

  23. I'm a little *iffy* about this one. There is a huge developmental difference between a 14/soon to be 15 year old and an 18 year old. It's in no way comparable to a 30 year old dating a 26 year old person, for example.

    And, yes, whenever I hear of an 18 year old male "dating" a 14/15 year old warning bells go off in my head, wondering what's "wrong" or stunted about the boy that he wants someone so much less physically/emotionally mature than himself, even if it might not be an early expression of pedophilic urges.

    I am not suggesting Kaitlyn is a potential pedophile or deserves to be called a "sex offender." Her parents have made the point that the younger girl was taking advanced classes with older students and was on the same team with Kaitlyn so they were more like peers. I just know that if I had a 14 or 15 year old daughter and an 18 year old guy wanted to date her my reaction would be, "Oh, HELL no!" There are some issues here that are not all black and white, and not all of it has to do with homophobia.

    Posted by: Caliban | May 23, 2013 11:12:51 AM

  24. 14 and 18?? uhh, that 18 year old should have known better. felony is extreme but very bad judgement on her part.

    Posted by: Not that Rob | May 23, 2013 11:14:13 AM

  25. Another thing that bothers me is I am seeing some report the girlfriend of Kate was 14 and some saying 15. Can someone set the record right.

    Posted by: Walter | May 23, 2013 11:22:59 AM

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