By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com October 03 2013 12:30 PM ET
Kaitlyn Hunt, the 18-year-old former high school cheerleader who was arrested and charged with felony child abuse for a consensual sexual relationship with her then-14-year-old girlfriend, today accepted a plea deal in Vero Beach, Fla., reports WPTV.
The deal accepted this morning by Indian River County circuit judge Robert Pegg was agreed to by Hunt's attorney and assistant state attorney Brian Workman, resulting in a "no contest" plea to five counts in total: two counts of battery, two counts of interference with child custody, and one count of contributing to the dependency of a child, according to the WPTV report. Hunt will be released from jail December 20.
Hunt, now 19, has been in jail in Indian River County since August, when prosecutors allege she violated the terms of her bond by sending more than 20,000 text messages, including explicit pictures, to her former girlfriend after the court ordered Hunt to cease all contact with the girl.
In February, Hunt was arrested and charged with two counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a child aged 12-16 for allegedly having sex with her former girlfriend, a fellow student at Sebastian River High School and player on the varsity basketball team. Hunt's family initially contended that the victim's family was pursuing an antigay agenda against Hunt, and launched a social media campaign to "Stop the Hate, Free Kate."
Hunt's attorney, Julia Graves, issued a statement Wednesday when the deal was initially made.
"Kaitlyn Hunt is accepting the plea deal in her best interest as well as that of her family, the 'victim' and the 'victim’s' family," said Graves in the statement, as reported Wednesday by WPTV. "It is time to enter a plea given the current state of the law and get back to living a somewhat normal life without fear of the unknown for everyone involved. … Kaitlyn is going to move on with her life and follow the conditions of her community control and probation imposed by the Court. The next task upon her release from incarceration is to work with supporters and lawmakers toward a change in the law for teenagers attending the same school, no matter what their sexual orientation is."
The victim's family, who contended throughout that they were not homophobic, just concerned for their younger daughter's safety and disturbed by her inappropriate sexual activity with an older woman, also issued a statement upon the plea deal's acceptance.
"It was never the intent of the [victim's family] to harm the defendant and this case was never about gender or sexual orientation," said the family's attorney, Charles Sullivan Jr. "It was about age-appropriate relationships and following the rules and laws of our society."
Watch KPTV's latest report on the story below.